The Nun's Priest's Tale-Beast Fable

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  • Exposition
  • "And such a joy it was to hear them sing, As when the glorious sun began to spring..."(Chaucer 234).
  • Rising Action
  • "I dreamt...I saw a kind of beast, A sort of hound that tried or seemed at least To try and seize me... would have killed me dead" (Chaucer 234)!
  • Rising Action
  • "He told him ever detail, sighing sore...This dream, believe me, MAdam, turned out to be true..."(Chaucer 238).
  • There was once an old widow who lived in a tiny cottage near the woods. She lived with her 2 daughters and farm animals. The widow kept 7 hens and their master cock, Chanticleer. Chanticleer was a handsome bird with a beautiful crowing voice. Chanticleer's favorite wife, Lady Pertelote, was the loveliest hen. It was a joy to hear Chanticleer and Lady Pertelote sing together every dawn.
  • Climax
  • "This Chanticleer... began to sing... Sir Russel Fox leapt in to attack, Grabbing his gorge.. And off bore him to the woods..."(Chaucer 246).
  • One morning before dawn, Chanticleer had a nightmare. He dreamed that a large, russet colored dog with glowing eyes crept up behind him. Pertelote told Chanticleer that his bad dream was due to indigestion.
  • Falling Action
  • "Sure never such a cry or lamentation... O woeful hens, louder your shrieks and higher Than those of Roman matrons when the fire Consumed their husbands..."(Chaucer 246-247).
  • Chanticleer said that past examples show that dreams can carry great significance. Chanticleer then explained a recent story he read where two men were forced to lodge in separate places. One had a dream where his friend was calling for help and being murdered. The man dismissed his dream at first, but in the morning, the man found his dead friend's body exactly where his friend told him in the dream.
  • Resolution
  • "Never again, for all your flattering lies, You'll coax song to make me blink my eyes; and as for those who blink...God blot them from his everlasting Book" (Chaucer 248)!
  • One day while the hens were bathing in the dust, a fox crept up on Chanticleer and asked Chanticleer to sing. The flattered Chanticleer began to sing, and the fox grabbed Chanticleer by the neck and ran off towards the woods.
  • Pertelote saw what happened, and she and the other hens cackled loud enough to raise the dead. The old widow, the two daughters, the dogs, all the farm animals, and even the bees started chasing the fox.
  • Chanticleer cleverly told the fox to tell the others to leave so that the fox could enjoy his meal. The fox opened his mouth to speak, and Chanticleer flew high into the trees. The fox tried to coax Chanticleer to come back, but Chanticleer learned his lesson and sang to the power of dreams.
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