The characters in The Canterbury Tales tell stories to pass time on their pilgrimage to Canterbury and to compete for a free supper. As the Host observes, “rid[ing] . . . dumb as a stone” is no fun, so the travelers naturally plan to “amuse [themselves]” with stories on the days-long trip to the Canterbury Cathedral. While the Host’s words imply that the storytelling was planned in advance, the Host sweetens the pot by suggesting a competition and promising the winner a free supper.