The Cook's Tale  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
This is a tale from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

Chaucer presumably never finished the Cook's Tale and it breaks off after 58 lines, although some scholars argue that Chaucer instead deliberately left the tale unfinished. . The story starts telling of an apprentice named Perkyn (aka Perkin) who is fond of drinking and dancing. Perkyn is released by his master and moves in with a friend who also loves to drink, and whose wife is a prostitute.

The tale continues the general downward trend of the preceding tales—the Knight's, the Miller's and the Reeve's tale—into evermore seedy stories. It is not certain if Chaucer deliberately left the tale unfinished or if he was going to continue it. Its length makes finding a source impossible but it is thought by some scholars to be a retelling of contemporary events, with a Roger Knight de Ware being mentioned in several manuscripts of the time.

In 25 of the Canterbury Tales MSS (notably Harley 7334 and Corpus Christi 198) the Cook's unfinished tale is followed by the anonymous Tale of Gamelyn and it has been believed that Chaucer intended to rewrite the tale for the Cook. There is though, no other connection of Gamelyn with Chaucer and the great difference in tone between that tale and the one the Cook starts suggests it was inserted by the scribes of the manuscripts.

The Host later calls upon the Cook for another tale but he is too drunk and after falling from his horse and being helped back up the Manciple tells a tale.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Cook's Tale" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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