The Nuns Priest Tale

By Aaron Swiergosz


The tale of the Nun's Priest begins with a widow and some background on her. The story continues to give background, and then it comes to her chicken named Chauntecleer who is the hero of the story. Chauntecleer has human abilities like being able to talk and he is the typical hero not afraid. When Sir Russell the fox comes to cause trouble Chauntecleer comes to stop him. Sir Russell quickly grabs him and begins to take him away to the forest. At the edge of the forest Chauntecleer gets the fox to talk and upon doing so he releases the chicken and he flies away to safety in the trees. In the end the fox says that he means him no harm but Chauntecleer tells him that by letting him go for that second is like blinking when there is something amazing to see, and in the end Chauntecleer reveals that the people who blink in those moments are not the ones to prosper, it is the ones that seize the opportunity that they have been given.
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Priest's Background

Not much is known about the Priest he is most likely on the pilgrimage to protect the Prioress and to here her confessions when she wants them to be heard. Other than that nothing is known about the Priest through his actions. His story gives some slight insight as to his personality. By using a somewhat helpless widow it begins to show that the Priest may have a negative attitude towards women and thinks them helpless, this further shows why the Priest may have went on the pilgrimage he may have felt that the Prioress was incapable of taking care of herself.
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The Moral

There is no clear moral to the story of The Nun's Priest the one that I interpreted is at the end of the tale. In the end the tale states to "take the fruit, and leave the chaff alone" this comes across to me as take what God offers to you because it is an opportunity and appreciate it, but not every opportunity offered is from God. This reveals that the Priest is a religious man who is aware of the sins in the world, but does nothing to try and rid the world of them. To be aware of the sins of the world and have the opportunity to not stop them is more sinful that committing the sins themselves. This is the equivalent of the Priest blinking he misses his opportunity to change the world. It must be any Priest's duty to take up the cross, to deny doing so is against what they stand for.

The Priest's saying at the end of the tale

The one thing that I had to research while reading this tale was the saying " take the fruit, and leave the chaff alone" once discovering what this saying meant the tale became more clear. It means to take all that is offered by God, but not all things are offered by God. It adds to the Moral of the tale.


Chaff- worthless things;trash, garbage

Lament- a passionate expression of sorrow

Eschewed- to have abstained from

Iniquity- gross injustice or wickedness

Avaunt- away, hence


Is the Nun's Priest story supposed to teach a lesson in life or is it just a witty story without a meaning?

What is the importance of the phrase " take the fruit, and leave the chaff alone"?