On a sweet April day in the year 1386 a man named Geoffrey Chaucer mounted his horse and set out on a pilgrimage.
Thirty pilgrims were traveling from London to Canterbury, telling stories, and Geoffrey Chaucer wrote down what they said. Whether Chaucer actually went on such a pilgrimage or created the travelers and their stories as a work of fiction, The Canterbury Tales is one of the richest treasures of our literary heritage.
Here, masterfully adapted by Barbara Cohen and lavishly illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, are four outstanding tales from this collection. The Nun's Priest recounts the boisterous barnyard adventures of a rooster and a hen. The venal Pardoner spins a cautionary tale of greed, murder, and punishment. The Wife of Bath illustrates her lusty discourse on marriage with the story of a knight who submits to his wife's will. Finally, the hospitable Franklin's story of an infatuated suitor and a faithful wife gently pokes fun at the excesses of courtly love.
Retold in lively prose that captures all the flavor and vigor of the original Middle English verse, these tales evoke the colorful world of fourteenth-century England and offer a perfect introduction to Chaucer's masterpiece.