Geoffrey Chaucer ‘The Canterbury Tales – The Miller’s Tale’ ctd.

Absolon falls head over heels with Allison and tries to woo her in all the possible ways: serenading her, sending gifts, pastries and even promises of money because Allison is a townswoman and so perhaps could be tempted by it., He is also taking care of his appearance, and even acting Herod in miracle plays so as to attract her attention. But nothing works because Nicholas is closer to her – metaphorically and physically. One Saturday, when the carpenter is again away, Nicholas and Allison decide to put their plan in action – the plan which will allow Allison to spend all nights in her lover’s arms. Nicholas closes himself in his chamber with enough food and drink to last him for a day or two. When the carpenter returns and hears that Nicholas hasn’t shown any signs of life since yesterday, he starts to be concerned. Is he ill or perhaps dead? He sends a servant to inquire. The servant knocks on the door, without results. Then he finds a hole “as the cat was wont in for to creepe”. Were cat doors known in the Middle Ages or is it just an accidental hole? Anyway, he sticks his head in and sees Nicholas, sitting on his bed full upright, apparently alive but not moving and gazing upon the moon. When the carpenter is told about it, he is really concerned. Did all the studies in astrology turn Nicholas’ head? Has he gone mad? The carpenter thanks God that he is an ignorant man and has no wish to pry into God’s secrets; he has heard about a clerk, similarly interested in astrology, who went walking one evening on the heath and was so intent upon gazing at stars that he fell into a marl-pit.


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