John is an old carpenter who is married to Alisoun. She is much younger than him. Nicholas, a scholar who boards with John, desires Alisoun.
When Nicholas convinces Alisoun to sleep with him, she expresses that she is worried that John will find out. Nicholas assures her that he can outwit him and devises a plan.
Nicholas tells John that there will be a flood, so they must bring three tubs to lay in on top of the barn that night. He tells them that, when it floods, they will chop the roof and land in the water safely. They follow through with the plan that night. However, when John falls asleep, Alisoun and Nicholas sneak away together.
This man is crazy!
Alisoun and Nicholas are together in John's bedroom when another one of Alisoun's desirers, Absolon, stops by to profess his love. He asks Alisoun for a kiss, but when he opens his eyes he finds that he kissed her butt, not her lips. He burns Nicholas's butt for laughing at him.
Upon hearing Nicholas shout, John thinks that the flood has happened and chops through the roof. Inside the tub, he falls to the ground.
Townspeople come due to the noises and shouting. John tries to tell them that Nicholas tricked him, but Nicholas convinces them that he is crazy.