THE COOK’S TALE
Perkin Reveler was an apprentice Cook working in London.
At weddings, he would dance and sing rather than mind the shop. When
he wasn’t rejoicing, he would be gambling or drinking. He was either full of love, or full of sin.
Finally, his Master had had enough of his behavior, considering him a bad
influence on the other apprentices, so he dismissed Perkin.
The young man decided to act in accordance with the old Proverb “Birds of a
feather flock together”, and became friends with another young man of similar habits. His friend’s wife ran a shop, which was just a cover for her loose, immoral activities.
This is clearly an incomplete work and, no doubt, Chaucer abandoned it, as
three jokes in a row were too much.
The host becomes concerned that the tales are not being told quickly enough,
and he asks the Man of Law to fulfill his contract and tell a tale.
The Man of Law comments that Chaucer has already written all the good
stories in the world. There are none left for him to tell. He eventually agrees to tell his story, but he is not a poet, and the lines will not rhyme.