The Shipman's Tale

Daniel Stitt


The tale starts off with a Merchant with a beautiful wife, and a Monk that is very close to the couple. The Monk and the Merchant regard each other as brothers, because they are so close with each other. When the Merchant invites the Monk to stay at his house for a few days, the Monk talks to the Wife about some problems that she is having, she can not afford certain clothes, because her husband won't but them for her, even though he is very rich. The Monk agrees to give her 100 francs, if she will sleep with him. At dinner that night, the Monk talks to the Merchant alone, asking if he can borrow 100 francs to purchase cattle for his own home, and the Merchant happily agrees to give the money, as long as he will get it back.

A few days later, the Merchant stops by the Monk's abbey to say hi. The Monk tells the Merchant, without questioning, that he has repaid the 100 Francs to the Wife. The Merchant is not very happy with this, and he confronts his wife when he gets home. She says that she used the money to buy fine clothes and that she will repay him, but not with money. The Merchant agrees, and the story ends.

The Shipman

The Shipman is a very strong man, who has lots of experience out at sea. He has been to many places around the world, and has experienced many different cultures. He also steals wine when the captain sleeps, so he is not the most honorable man. Even though he is able to steer a ship, he is not the best at handling a horse.

The Moral

The moral of the story could be about honesty, and always confronting your problems if something is wrong.

This is kind of odd, because the Shipman is known for not being the most honest person out there. Even though he steals from the captain, he may know what honesty is, and respects it, but he may not practice it as much as he may say he does.

One Thing to Reasearch

St. Denis/St. Denys:

A DIstrict of Southampton, England. It is in the South-Eastern part of England, and is next to the River Itchen.

5 Vocab Words

Reverently: Deeply respectful

Breviary: A book of daily prayers and readings in some other Churches

Plight: A condition, state, or situation especially an unfavorable or unfortunate one

Fowl: Domestic Barnyard Hen or Rooster

Granaries: a Storehouse or repository for grain, especially after it has been threshed or husked

Essential Questions

What would you have done if you were in the Monk's shoes? Keep in mind that you are a monk and must abide by the rules of when you were knighted.

Do you think the Wife should have done what she did? Or gone to her husband and confronted him about her problem directly?