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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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Then I show forth my long glass cases, crammed full of cloths and bones: all the people believe that they are holy relics1. I have a shoulder-bone set in brass which came from a holy Jew's sheep. [352]

"'Good men,' I say, 'mark my words; wash this bone in any spring, and if a cow or calf or sheep or ox swell up that has been stung or bitten by any serpent, take water from this spring and wash its tongue and it will be healthy then. And moreover, every sheep that drinks a draught from this spring shall be cured of pox or scabs or sores. And mark what I say. [360]

"'If the man of the house who owns the beasts will drink, fasting, a draught from this spring every week before cock-crow, as this holy Jew taught our forefathers, his beasts and his stock shall multiply.

And sirs, it will cure jealousy also; though a man be fallen into a jealous fury, mix his broth with this water and he will never mistrust his wife again, even if he knows the very truth of her fault--although she has taken two or three priests. [371]

"'Here is a glove also. He who will put his hand in this glove shall see his grain multiply, whether it is wheat or barley; so he will offer pence, or else groats2. [376]

"'But, good men and women, of one thing I warn you; if any person is now in this church who has committed a horrible sin and dares not to be confessed of it because of shame, or if any woman, old or young, has made her husband a cuckold, such people shall have no power or grace to make offerings here to my relics.



1 relics Relics, any materials directly related to the physical presence of a holy person, were believed to have special powers of healing and were therefore valuable. The Pardoner's relics, of course, are not.
2 pence . . . groats I.e., one small coin or another.
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