Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Abbot of Canterbury (Summary)

The Abbot of Canterbury was a rich bishop. He was leading a pompous life. He kept a better house as the King himself. He kept a large train of servants who waited upon him with velvet coats and gold chains. At that time the King John ruled over England. He was jealous of the Abbot of Canterbury and thought that he got his wealth by unfair means. He therefore wanted to punish him, so he called the Abbot and he charged him with treason. The Abbot pleaded not guilty and said that he was spending his own money. At this King put him three questions and declared that the Abbot would have to lose his life, if he failed to answer the questions. King gave him three weeks to answers these questions.

The Abbot was upset. He went to Oxford and Cambridge and to all the wise men of the land. But no one could tell him how to answer the questions. At last the Abbot’s shepherd who resembled him went before the King.

The King put following three question before him:

1. What was his (King’s) worth with his crown of gold?

2. How soon might he ride the whole world about?

3. What was he thinking?

To first question the shepherd replied that Jesus Christ was sold among the Jews for thirty pence, so his worth was only twenty nice pence. To the second question the shepherd replied that if he rode with the sun he would travel round the world in 24 hours. To the third question, he replied that he was thinking him Abbot of Canterbury but he was his poor shepherd and came to beg pardon for the Abbot and himself. King John was very happy at this jest and granted a pension of four nobles per week for the shepherd and pardoned the Abbot of Canterbury.

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