Reaction to The Pardoner’s Tale
I can recall from all my travels a
Triad of monks I met from Sicily.
These men had lived their lives luxuriously.
But, when the Day of Judgment came to haunt
The current abbot and pervade his thoughts,
Ideas for the abbot next in line
Spread (like a wildfire) after Death’s first sign.
These honorable monks assessed the state
Of matters and of what could be at stake
If they were to escape this house of God.
They realized they were living lives of fraud.
They made their plans to flee in secrecy.
The threats to have them known by every priest
Were quieted down by sacks of Indian spice.
And o’er the course, they said, of seven nights
They fled the monastery easily.
You wonder how they accomplished this feat?
The answer lies within their plan’s design.
At first they found the cellar full of wine
And opened the door with the tarnished key.
Day one was when they found reposit’ries
Of outfits greyed by time and lack of use.
They pried the chests stashed in a corner loose,
And took the robes their order used to wear
Before accepting money for their pray’rs.
(The clothes they stole were just a bit too tight.)
And every day they waited ‘til midnight
To carve the hole from which they would escape.
At week’s end our trio ran away.
By sunrise they were all thought to be dead.
It came as a surprise, for one of them
Was s’posed to be head prior afterwards!
That position did not seem to deter
The monks from leaving indefinitely.
So on the day these monks were finally free
They found themselves without necessities.
“What shall we do concerning food,” they said,
“What shall we do without drink, clothes, or bed?”
“I’ve got a plan!” one monk said suddenly:
“I know not where to find a place to sleep
Or some way we can all sustain ourselves.
But fear not, for with these robes we now wear
We’ll be receivers (almost everywhere!)
Of open arms and hospitality;
We look just like devout Benedictines!”
The other two monks listened with a smile
As number one displayed his hidden guile.
And so they went along the countryside
Enjoying benefits from friar life.
The money made from Catholic rituals
All went to serve the individuals
Who had successf’lly hatched this detailed plot.
In one years’ time they had not missed a spot
Along the southern coast of Italy
That of a humble friar was in need.
Once every town had empty pockets and
Had paid for ancient Christian artifacts
(The monks had found) until they starved themselves,
The friars started eyeing Sicily
And went to seize that opportunity.
Upon arrival they were met by one
Devout servant of God; he was sent by some
Unknown monastic house set far from here.
He recognized the three immediately,
For they had disappeared without a trace
Just days ‘fore a new abbot took his place
And turned the monks so they could see the light!
They learned and worked and studied every night
Ascending to austere, ascetic lives.
The trio knew to put their dream to rest;
There was no money to be made here lest
The monastery find their whereabouts!
This former colleague had been lost without
Any sense of belonging in the church.
His newfound faith led him for this to search.
His quest for purpose brought him to the sea
And gave this stroke of serendipity.
The monks in opposite directions walked
To keep the man from coming to talk
To them about their grand escape last year.
Unfortunately for them he called, “Come here!
It’s only I, a friend from days long past!
A miracle has come--asign at last!
Just wait until your former colleagues hear!”
At this the trio tensed of genuine fear
And slowly swiveled on their worn shoes’ heels.
What fright and terror this poor monk did feel
As these three monks he’d once considered friends
Took hold of his black collar with contempt
Procuring fists of coins from hidden sacks
While holding pocket knives behind their backs
In an attempt to bribe him into secrecy!
This did not work, as he began to scream,
“Police! Please rid me of this pestilence!”
The three monks sported looks of helplessness
As coast guards dragged the future jailbirds
Away; the man who called looked unperturbed.
He caught the monks’ attention with his hand
And said, ”I hope now you will understand
Why those who stayed decided to reform
Themselves and to learn to embrace God’s warmth,
Instead of living just to serve our wants.”
Thus ends the tale of these bon vivants
Who spent their lives avoiding destiny
And ended in a penitentiary.
They served their greedy inclinations ‘til
Their avarice put their lives to standstills.
And so I leave you with my humble thought:
Ten shillings made dishonestly is naught
In juxtaposition with one from God.
Of no use are your Lord-fearing façades;
If you abuse our Church’s name for gold,
For sordid pers’nal gain is virtue sold.
To Canterbury let us journey on;
Hurrah! At this rate we’ll arrive at dawn!