Tooth In Tale


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A certain lord's chaplain boasted on a time, sitting at his lord's table, that he said Our Lady matins every morning besides all his other service and orisons. The lord, to prove whether his chaplian did as he said, arose early on a morning and went to his chaplain's chamber and called him, saying: "Where be ye, Sir William?"

"Here, and please your lordship (quod he), in my bed."

"Why," said the lord, " I thought ye had been up and saying of Our Lady matins."

"I am now saying it," quod the chaplain.

"What! lying in your bed?" quod the lord.

"Why, sir," said the chaplain, "where would women be served but abed?"


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A man that was right jealous of his wife dreamed on a night as he lay abed with her and slept, that the devil appeared unto him and said: "Wouldst thou not be glad that I should put thee in surety of they wife?"

"Yes," said he.

"Hold," said the devil, "as long as thou hast this ring upon thy finger no man shall make thee cuckold."

The man was glad thereof, and when he awaked he found his finger in his wife's arse.


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There was a maid stood by a river's side in her smock, washing clothes. And as she stooped, oft times her smock cleaved between her buttocks. By whom there came a friar, seeing her, and said in sport: "Maid, maid, take heed--for Bayard bites on the bridle!" "Nay, I know, master friar (quod the maiden), he doth but wipe his mouth and weeneth ye will come and kiss him."

By this ye may see that a woman's answer is never to seek.


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A gentleman and a gentlewoman sat together talking--which gentleman had great pain in one of his teeth, and happened to say to the gentlewoman this: "I know, mistress, I have a tooth in my head which grieveth me very sore, wherefore I would it were in your tail."

She, hearing him saying so, answered thus: "In good faith, sir, if your tooth were in my tail, it could do it but little good--but if there be anything in my tail that can do your tooth good, I would it were in your tooth."

By this, ye may see that a woman's answer is seldom to seek.


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A young gentleman of the age of twenty years, somewhat disposed to mirth and game, on a time talked with a gentlewoman which was right wise and also merry. This gentlewoman, as she talked with him, happened to look upon his beard (which was but young and grown somewhat upon the overlip and but little grown beneath--as all young men's beards commonly use to grow) said to him thus: "Sir, ye have beard above and none beneath."

And he, hearing her say so, said in sport: "Mistress, ye have a beard beneath and none above."

"Marry," quod she, "then set the one against t'other--" which answer made the gentleman so abashed that he had not one word to answer.


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Poge Florentine sayth that sometime there was a man named Nerus dePacis, the which of his age was among the Florentines right sage and prudent and right rich. This Nerus had a fair daughter the which he married with a right fair young man and a rich and of good parentage or kindred. The which young man the next day after the feast of the wedding did lead her into his castle a little way without the city of Florence.

And within few days after, this young man brought his wife again into Florence, into the house of her father Nerus--the which made then a feast as it was 'customed to do at that time in some places eight days after the wedding.

When this new married or wedded woman was come again to her father's house, she made not over good cheer, but ever she had her look downward to the earth, as full triste, thoughtful, and melancholious. And when her mother perceived and saw her daughter so sorrowful and of mourning, she called her within a wardrobe whereas nobody was but they two, and asked of her the cause of her sorrow, saying: "How fare ye, my daughter? What want you? Have you not all the things coming to you after your desire and plaisance? Wherefore take ye so great thought and melancholy?"

And then the daughter, weeping full tenderly, said to the mother in this manner: "Alas, my mother, ye have not married me to a man. For of such a thing that a man ought to have, he hath never a dele save only a little part of that thing for the which wedding is made."

And then the mother, right wroth an sorrowful of this evil fortune, went toward her husband Nerus and told to him th'evil aventure and hap of their daughter. Whereof he was greatly wroth and sore troubled. And soon after, this fortune was also divulged, manifested and known among all the lineage of Nerus. Whereof they were all sorrowful and greatly abashed how this fair young man to whom God had sent so many good virtues and that had so many gifts of grace--as is beauty, riches, and good renown--was indigent or faulty of that thing wherefore marriage is made.

Nevertheless, the tables were set and covered. And when the time of dinner came, the young man came into the house of Nerus with his friends and parents. And incontinent they set them all at the table--some with heavy and sorrowful hearts, and the others with great hoy and pleasure. And when the young man saw that all his friends made food cheer and that all the parents of his wife were heavy and melancholious, he prayed and besought them that they would tell him the cause of their heaviness and sorrow. But none of them all answered.

Nevertheless, he prayed and besought them yet again. And then one of them--full of sorrow and more liberal than all the others--said thus to him: "Certainly, my fair son, thy wife hath told to us that thou art not man perfect."

For the which words the man began to laugh and said with a high voice that all they that were there might understand what he said: "M'lords and my friends, make good cheer. For the cause of your sorrow shall soon be 'peased." And then he, being clothed with a short gown, untied his hose, and took his member with his hand--which was great and much sufficient--upon the table so that all the fellowship might see it.

Whereof the said fellowship was full glad and joyful; whereof some of the men desired to have as much, and many of the women wished to their husbands such an instrument. And then some of the friends and parents of Neruus' daughter went toward her and said to her that she had great wrong for to complain her of her husband, for he had well wherewith she might be contented, and blamed her greatly of her folly.

To whom the young daughter answered: "My friends, why blame ye me? I complain me not without cause, for our ass which is a brute beast hath well a member as great as mine arm and my husband which is a man, his member is hardly half so great." Wherefore the simple and young damsel weened that the man should have is as great and greater than asses.

Therefore it is said oft that much lacketh he of that, that a fool thinketh or weeneth.