In “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer adapts a traditional French folk tale that features a rooster and a hen. The story takes place in a barnyard.
Chanticleer is the rooster. By the time Chaucer wrote, this name and character was already established as a braggart figure, who was often a vain bully as well. That is his personality in this story, with his plumage and voice two elements inspiring his vanity.
While Chanticleer has seven wives, the hen Pertelote (also spelled Partlet) is his favorite. She initially offers a sympathetic ear when he tells her about a frightening dream about being eaten. She soon dismisses his fear, attributing it to something he ate, but later regrets the advice. The fox, Russell, flatters and fools the rooster, and then nearly does capture and eat him, but he escapes.
While Chanticleer’s vanity made him gullible, Perelote did not take him seriously and gave him bad advice; both factors combined to create a near-tragic end.