The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

56° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dirty bedtime stories from Chaucer

    Andi Berlinarts columnist
    Andi Berlin
    arts columnist

    “”OK, Timmy, enough playing, it’s time to go to sleep.””

    “”But Mommy Andi, tell me a bedtime story first. A medieval one again, with knights and friars and stuff.””

    “”All right, I’ll tell you another from ‘The Canterbury Tales.’ I already told you about the friars that break out of the lizard devil’s asshole and fly around hell, right? I learned this one in my Chaucer class the other day when we were reading ‘The Miller’s Tale,’ and it’s even better because it’s based off of a 13th-century French fabliau. It starts off with four lovers: a stupid old carpenter man who’s married to a frisky temptress, a hunky young student and a metrosexual parish clerk.

    “”To play a trick on him, the hunky student Nicholas persuades the frisky temptress’s husband John that Noah’s flood is coming the next day, and they’ll all be dead if they don’t prepare. To survive the flood, he says they have to sleep in three bathtubs chained up to the rafters, and cut them when the water comes and ride away like they’re on miniature boats. John agrees, and promptly falls asleep in his tub.

    “”Then Nicholas and the temptress Allison climb out of their tubs and start having sex in the other room. After a few hours, the metrosexual clerk walks up to the window and proclaims his love for Allison. He asks for a kiss, and Allison agrees.

    “”It’s pitch dark outside, and nobody can really see anything. She bends over and puts her bare ass to the window, and lets the clerk start making out with it. And they weren’t very hygienic back in medieval days Timmy, so who knows what residue or crap was on there.

    “”After a minute or so, the clerk pulls back and proclaims that he’s never kissed a girl with a beard before. Then he realizes what’s going on and gets really pissed off.

    “”He buys a branding iron at a local shop and then comes back and asks for a kiss again.

    “”Nicholas decides to take care of it this time, because he was already up to take a piss. So he puts his ass up to the window and farts in the clerk’s face. The clerk brands him with the iron, he calls for ‘water’ in agony and the old man John hears it and wakes up, thinking the flood has come. John cuts his tub, falls to the ground and then breaks his arm. Then everyone in the town sees him and laughs at him. The end.””

    “”Mommy Andi, that was such a great story. I can’t believe they would write something like that in the 14th century,”” Timmy said.

    “”Yes, honey. Many people think we only started to be crude in the last 100 years, but when you read things like this you start to realize that the Middle Ages was just as dirty as, if not worse than, us.””

    “”But why would they teach that to you in class?””

    “”Because some of the most interesting classical pieces are the less appreciated, the less literary works. The stories that give us insight on what were some of the common customs and tall tales of the past. Sometimes, reading these regular stories is even more fulfilling than reading high literature, because they give us a glimpse into the daily lives of our ancestors.””

    “”Tell me another, Mommy!””

    “”It’s time to go to bed, Timmy. But I’ll give you a preview for tomorrow night. I read this one in ‘The Summoner’s Tale.’ A friar goes to a sick man’s bed and begs for alms. The sick man says he’s lying on his present, but that the friar has to split it with his 12 other friar friends. The friar agrees and reaches under the man’s butt for the money, but instead the sick man lets out a tremendous fart on his hand.

    “”The friar goes to the house of the local lord, and then they all discuss in high language how to divide a fart evenly among 13 people. They finally agree that someone has to stand at the front of a cart, and all the friars will stand along the sides. So when he farts, the air will float evenly to all of them. But I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow night, Timmy. I have to go sign up for classes now.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search