Geoffrey Chaucer ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’ ctd.

The three young men rather haughtily (and nonsensically) ask the old man why he is so old. He answers that somehow nobody won’t exchange his youth for his old age and Death won’t take him either, even though he is tired of life. He also chastises them for being disrespectful to an old man. “Well, talking of that, you must be Death’s spy so you have to tell us where we can find him”. “Yonder under that oak.” The young men run towards the tree where they find no Death but a hoard of golden coins. They are overjoyed, naturally. But then the worst of them says “We cannot just take these coins in broad daylight, because people will think we stole them and we will be hanged. So I suggest we draw straws, the one who draws the shortest straw will run to town to buy some wine and bread for us, while the other two will guard the treasure. When the night falls we will carry the gold in secret home and divvy it up.”. So they draw the straws, the youngest gets the shortest one and goes away. When he is gone, one of the remaining ones says to the other “Wouldn’t it be nice to divide this treasure into two parts instead of three?” (I think you can easily guess where it is going.)


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