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By oon assent, wher-as us thinketh best.’
340That oon of hem the cut broughte in his fest,
And bad hem drawe, and loke wher it wol falle;
And it fil on the yongeste of hem alle;
And forth toward the toun he wente anon.
And al-so sone as that he was gon,
That oon of hem spak thus unto that other,
‘Thou knowest wel thou art my sworne brother,
Thy profit wol I telle thee anon.
Thou woost wel that our felawe is agon;
And heer is gold, and that ful greet plentee,
350That shal departed been among us three.
But natheles, if I can shape it so
That it departed were among us two,
Hadde I nat doon a freendes torn to thee?’
He then put three straws in his fist and had each of the other two take one to see who’d be the runner. The youngest of the three picked the shortest straw, so he set off immediately for the town below. As soon as he was gone, one of the remaining two rogues turned to the other one and said, “You know, we swore an oath to be brothers, which is why I want to tell you something that I think will interest you. We have all this money here to divide among the three of us. But wouldn’t it be great if we could figure out some way so that we’d only have to divide it between the two of us? Wouldn’t you like that?”
That other answerde, ‘I noot how that may be;
He woot how that the gold is with us tweye,
What shal we doon, what shal we to him seye?’
“Yeah, that’d be great,” the other one answered. “But I don’t know how you’re planning on doing that, considering our younger friend knows about the gold. What would we say to him? What are you thinking?”
‘Shal it be conseil?’ seyde the firste shrewe,
‘And I shal tellen thee, in wordes fewe,
What we shal doon, and bringe it wel aboute.’
“I have a plan that I think will work,” the first rogue replied. “Can you keep a secret?”
360‘I graunte,’ quod that other, ‘out of doute,
That, by my trouthe, I wol thee nat biwreye.’
“I swear I won’t tell anyone anything,” said the other guy. “I give you my word that I won’t betray you.”