|Followed by The Man of Law's Tale||Preceded by The Reeve's Tale|
|Similar Geoffrey Chaucer books, The Canterbury Tales books, Other books|
Geoffrey Chaucer presumably never finished "The Cook's Tale" and it breaks off after 58 lines, although some scholars argue that Chaucer deliberately left the tale unfinished. The story starts telling of an apprentice named Perkyn (a.k.a. Perkin) who is fond of drinking and dancing. Perkyn is released by his master and moves in with a friend who also loves to drink, and whose wife is a prostitute. The apprentice also messed around with the Host's wife.
The tale continues the general downward trend of the preceding tales—the Knight's, the Miller's and the Reeve's tale—into ever-more-seedy stories. Its length makes finding a source impossible, but it is thought by some scholars to be a retelling of contemporary events, with a Roger Knight de Ware being mentioned in several manuscripts of the time.
In 25 of The Canterbury Tales MSS (notably Harley 7334 and Corpus Christi 198) the Cook's unfinished tale is followed by the anonymous Tale of Gamelyn, and it has been believed that Chaucer intended to rewrite the tale for the Cook. There is though, no other connection of Gamelyn with Chaucer and the great difference in tone between that tale and the one the Cook starts suggests that it was inserted by the scribes who copied the manuscripts. Skeat argued instead that Chaucer intended the tale for the Yeoman, who would presumably be more interested in a tale of country life.
The Host later calls upon the Cook for another tale; but he is too drunk and, after he falls from his horse and is helped back up, the Manciple tells a tale.
The cook s tale
The Cook (Roger) starts by cog on the Reeve's tale and then, after a reference to Solomon, asks for his listeners to attend while he tells of a trick that was played in his city (Lines 1 - 19). The host then invites the cook to tell his tale (Lines 20 - 40). .