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The Canterbury Tales

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And wel I woot the substance is in me,
If any thing shal wel reported be.
Sir, sey somwhat of hunting, I yow preye.’
“Now, I know a good story when I hear one—and that wasn’t one. I know, why don’t you tell us another one, maybe one about hunting? Yeah, that’d be good.”
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‘Nay,’ quod this monk, ‘I have no lust to pleye;
Now let another telle, as I have told.’
Than spak our host, with rude speche and bold,
And seyde unto the Nonnes Preest anon,
‘Com neer, thou preest, com hider, thou sir Iohn,
Tel us swich thing as may our hertes glade,
Be blythe, though thou ryde upon a Iade.
What though thyn hors be bothe foule and lene,
If he wol serve thee, rekke nat a bene;
Look that thyn herte be mery evermo.’
‘Yis, sir,’ quod he, ‘yis, host, so mote I go,
But I be mery, y-wis, I wol be blamed:’—
And right anon his tale he hath attamed,
And thus he seyde unto us everichon,
This swete preest, this goodly man, sir Iohn.
“Uh . . . no, I’m not really in the mood to tell a happy story,” the Monk replied. “Why doesn’t someone else take a turn?” So our Host turned to one of the two priests traveling with the Prioress, a man named John, and said in his usual rude voice, “Hey pal, get over here. I know you ain’t got much—just look at that pathetic horse you’re riding!—but maybe you can pretend like you’re better off and tell us a happier story.” “Sure thing,” Brother John answered. “I’ll try and be a little happier for you.” And this is what that priest, Brother John, told us:

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