The Summoner's Tale Notes from The Canterbury Tales

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The Canterbury Tales The Summoner's Tale

In Holderness, a marshy part of Yorkshire, a friar preached sermons begging for donations to the church and later from the local residents for charity. The friar went to Thomas, a local resident's house, who was ill, and requested a meal from his wife, who told him that their child died less than two weeks earlier. The friar told them that he had a vision that their child had died and gone to heaven, as did his fellow friars. These 'holy men' have special powers that allow them to live richly spiritually on this earth. The friar goes on to say that his close relationship to God lies in impoverished lifestyle. Thomas's illness persists, he says, because he does not give enough money to the Church. The friar then tells a tale of an angry king who had sentenced a knight to death because he returned home without his partner. The king believed the knight to have murdered the partner solely because he had arrived alone. As another knight was leading the knight to his death sentence, the two stumbled across the supposed murdered knight. The third knight went to the angry king to reverse the first knight's sentence. However, he was met with more disturbances. The king sentenced all three to death.

Topic Tracking: Christianity 8

The friar tells of another furious king named Cambyses. He was a drunkard and killed one of his knight's son's because of his foolish pride. He believed he still held his coordination in his drunken stupor and shot an arrow to prove his soberness. Yet another ireful king, Cyrus of Persia, destroyed the river Gyndes because one of his horses drowned in it. The friar again requests money from Thomas for the monks, to which Thomas responds that he is sitting on the gift. Thomas farts on the friar's hands and the servants chase him away. Furious, the friar found the lord of the manor upon exit and complained that Thomas' gift was supposed to be divided equally. The lord responded that the fart would be equally split among all deserving monks and the tale ends.

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