The Canterbury Pilgrims eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about The Canterbury Pilgrims.
Pertelot.  “You a man, and frightened by a dream!  Do you think any woman will respect you if you do not show yourself more courageous?  We like our husbands to be something of heroes.  Besides, dreams are nonsense.  They are no guide to the future, unless it be to tell you what medicine you need.  For if a man be over-choleric, then he dreams of fires and red beasts, and if melancholy, of black bears.  I will undertake to prescribe for you as there is no doctor in the town.  Groundsel grows in our yard and hellebore.  Peck them up, and take a few worms, and that will be the end of your dreams.”  “Peace, wife!” returned Chanticleer.  “What do you know of such things?  Would you go against the authority of Holy Writ?  Did not Joseph dream dreams?  Was not Pharaoh instructed by them?  Look at classical authors, Cato, Seneca, Cicero.  Dreams were ever revered.  Do you not know how by a dream a foul murder was discovered?  Shame on you, to talk of medicines and groundsel!  But still, though my dream is surely prophetic, I can forget it when I look upon your beauty, my love.  ’Tis gone from my mind at a glance of your eye.  So now let us out of doors.”

With these words he flew down from the beam and went out into the yard, and all the hens followed him.  There he stalked up and down trying to forget the terrors of the night.  He was so proud he could scarce set foot to earth.  All his wives ran after him to eat the grains of corn he found.  When the sun rose higher Chanticleer sang his morning carol, and his wives settled down to have dust baths in the warmth.

Suddenly Chanticleer caught sight of an animal lying among the grass by the side of the yard.  It was Russel the fox, who had lived for three years in the wood near by, and now had grown bold enough to break through the hedge and make his way into the farmyard.  The moment Chanticleer saw him he jumped back in terror, quite forgetting his song.  It was the creature of his dream!  The fox was ready to calm his fear.  He got up from the grass and advanced politely to Chanticleer.  “Do not be alarmed at my appearance,” he said.  “I have come with the best intentions.  I am, in fact, a friend of the family.  Both your father and mother spent some time in my house—­to my great satisfaction.  I was listening to your singing.  You have a marvellous voice, and it is doubtless inherited.  I remember your father had a way of standing on his toes, shutting his eyes and stretching his neck.  When he did that his top notes were really wonderful.  Do you do the same?” Chanticleer was delighted with this flattery, and at once began to crow his best, shutting his eyes and stretching his neck as the fox had described.  Then, as soon as his eyes were shut, the fox sprang forward, caught him by the neck, threw him over his back and was off to the wood.  Alas! poor Chanticleer, what a fate is thine!  True are dreams and men should heed their warnings!

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The Canterbury Pilgrims from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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