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Barron's Booknotes-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free Book Notes
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THE COOK'S TALE

Roger, the Cook, enjoys the Reeve's Tale so much he promises to top it with an even dirtier one that he swears is true. The Host warns kiddingly it had better be good to repay the pilgrims for the reheated pies the Cook has sold them. (As you see, payment is an important theme in this opening series of tales, which ends with this one.)


The Cook's Tale can barely be called one, since it only consists of the opening lines. (Maybe Chaucer decided two dirty stories in a row was enough.) The Cook starts to tell of an apprentice cook, Perkin Reveler (Partyer) who'd rather dance, drink, and fool around than tend shop. His boss, worrying that this rotten apple could spoil the whole barrel (it was an old saying even then!), fires Perkin, who moves in with a friend who has the same wild habits. This friend has a wife who runs a shop as a front for her sexual goings-on. This is where the tales ends. (You might wish for it to continue!)

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Barron's Booknotes-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free Book Notes
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