The Canterbury Tales: Novel Summary: The Summoner's Tale

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The Summoner's Tale

There was a friar who begged for his living, and pretended to say prayers for the generous, but did not.  He travels to a house where he has been given much food and money in the past, and the head of the house, Thomas, has had lots of bad luck, and asks the friar for advice.  The friar says that Thomas must have sinned, and so he should make a full confession to him and pay a monetary penance.  Thomas denies that he has sinned, since his local priest forgave him this morning.  The friar persists, and Thomas finally tells the friar to reach behind his back for a secret place that he keeps money.  The friar reaches behind his back, and Thomas farts in his hand, and makes a joke that he should divide the fart equally among all of the friars of the town. The friar is humiliated and angry, and he goes to the lord of the town to tell him about the insult.  He is thought a bit crazy, but the lord's squire comes up with an answer to Thomas' riddle, which makes everyone happy except for the friar.  The Friar should sit on a wheel and fart onto the wheel, and all of the other friars should put their noses around one of the spokes of the wheel.

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