The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Pardoner’s Tale Page 14

page The Pardoner’s Tale: Page 14

Original Text

Modern Text

The pothecarie answerde, ‘and thou shalt have
A thing that, al-so God my soule save,
In al this world ther nis no creature,
400That ete or dronke hath of this confiture
Noght but the mountance of a corn of whete,
That he ne shal his lyf anon forlete;
Ye, sterve he shal, and that in lasse whyle
Than thou wolt goon a paas nat but a myle;
This poyson is so strong and violent.’
“Sure, I can sell you some strong poison,” the clerk said. “This stuff is so strong that no living creature in the world will be able to survive if it eats or drinks this. It’s fast-acting too, and will take effect in less time than it’d take you to walk a mile.
This cursed man hath in his hond y-hent
This poyson in a box, and sith he ran
In-to the nexte strete, unto a man,
And borwed [of] him large botels three;
410And in the two his poyson poured he;
The thridde he kepte clene for his drinke.
For al the night he shoop him for to swinke
In caryinge of the gold out of that place.
And whan this ryotour, with sory grace,
Had filled with wyn his grete botels three,
To his felawes agayn repaireth he.
The young rogue bought the poison and then went to see a guy on the next street over to borrow three large empty bottles. He put poison in two of them, but he kept the third bottle clean for his own drink, which he knew he’d need later that night because he planned to move all the gold by himself. And after he’d filled the big bottles with wine, he headed back to where his two friends were waiting for him at the oak tree.
What nedeth it to sermone of it more?
For right as they had cast his deeth bifore,
Right so they han him slayn, and that anon.
420And whan that this was doon, thus spak that oon,
‘Now lat us sitte and drinke, and make us merie,
And afterward we wol his body berie.’
And with that word it happed him, par cas,
To take the botel ther the poyson was,
And drank, and yaf his felawe drinke also,
For which anon they storven bothe two.
Well, there really isn’t a whole lot more to say. The two older friends killed the youngest right after he’d returned with the food and wine, just as they’d planned. And when they’d finished, the first rogue said, “Now let’s sit and relax for a bit before burying the body.” As luck would have it, he grabbed and drank from one of the bottles with poison in it and gave the other poisoned bottle to his friend. And in no time at all, they were both dead.