I picked up a very inexpensive copy of The Canterbury Tales over the summer when I attended practicum knowing that we were going to be studying this time period during Cycle 2. At least that’s what my rationalization was. The actual thinking part of my brain knew full well that it was wildly inappropriate and completely foolish to expect my 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders to grasp a text that CC was selling to 10th graders. I figured there would be some way I could use at least *some* of it in a way that would be engaging and cause them to fall in love with it as I had in college. Well, good sense prevailed and although I didn’t give up wanting to read the stories to the boys, I did give up the notion that I would be reading from that particular text. Instead, I searched Amazon and ended up finding a perfect special edition for young readers, featuring the most striking illustrations.


Here’s the table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • General Prologue of the Canterbury Pilgrims
  • The Knights Tale: “Palamon and Arcite”
  • The Wife of Bath’s Tale: Prologue and “The Loathly Lady”
  • The Friar’s Tale: Prologue and “The Devil and the Summoner”
  • The Clerk’s Tale: Prologue and “Patient Griselda”
  • The Franklin’s Tale: Prologue and “The Black Rocks of Brittany”
  • Chaucer’s Rime of Sir Topas: Prologue and “The Rime of Sir Topas”
  • The Nun’s Priest’s Tale: Prologue and “Chanticleer and Pertelote”
  • The Pardoner’s Tale: Prologue and “The Three Thieves”
  • The Canon Yeoman’s Tale: Prologue and “The False Alchemist”
  • The Manciple’s Tale: Prologue and “How the Crow Became Black”
  • The Man of Law’s Tale: Prologue and “The Calamities of Constance”

We’re up to the Franklin’s tale and have thoroughly enjoyed the stories so far. All three boys regularly beg me to keep reading so I have a feeling we’ll finish it within the next two weeks.

The final page of the book includes this message:

Chaucer never finished all the tales that were promised at the beginning. Neither did he tell how the pilgrims finished their journey, nor do we know which of them won the prize and the dinner that was to be awarded to the teller of the best tale–for Chaucer died before his book was finished.

The choice of the best tale is really up to you. If you can make up your mind, eat your next good dinner in honor of him and of Geoffrey Chaucer, dead these five centuries and more. May he rest in peace.

I’m thinking a nice meal would be the perfect homage to Chaucer as well as a fun way for us to discuss which tale we enjoyed the most. I wonder which one will win!