illustration of a clergyman with Canterbury cathedral behind him

The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

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The Cook’s Tale Summary

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The Cook’s Prologue

The Cook has enjoyed the Reeve’s tale, and he will tell his story next about an amusing happening in his city. The Host allows him but gets in some digs about the Cook’s meals and the flies in his shop. He then says that he is just joking, and the Cook should not be upset. The Cook, in turn, tells the Host not to be angry, for his story is about an inn-keeper.

The Cook’s Tale

An apprentice to a food merchant loves to dance, sing, gamble, dress well, and play with the ladies. His name is Perkin Reveler, and he pays much more attention to having fun than to his work as an apprentice. To finance his revelry, Perkin steals from his master, who rebukes him and even sends him off to prison sometimes. But nothing changes Perkin.

Finally, Perkin’s apprenticeship is over, and the master gives him his release papers, declaring that it is better to be rid of this rotten servant before he corrupts the rest. Perkin moves in with a friend who is just as corrupt as he is. The tale breaks off at this point.

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