Pilgrim’s Prize (Pt.21): The Second Nun’s Tale (Chaucer Journal)
And Chaucer is back in his true form—people doing Christian things but with people (not animals)!
This time around, the story is pretty basic so I won’t spend much effort explaining the nuance. It starts with Cecilia explaining to her husband that if he or any man take her chastity, they will be put to death by her guardian angel. The only way to avoid this is by getting baptized. So, that is what her husband does; once baptized, he is able to see the angel and has a surge of appreciation for Christianity. Fast forward a bit and many more people become baptized through word of mouth at just how amazing it is to see angels (talk about the original viral event!). Eventually, this leads to the execution of Cecilia’s friends and hubby and herself; she is boiled alive and survives several strikes of a sword as it tries to behead her but she lives through it for days and manages to convert many people while nearly headless. She eventually dies. Yeah.
More dark stuff from Chaucer. Reminds me of the tale about the little boy who was murdered by Jews and thrown in sewage, though things don’t get quite that dark. Still, it is a macabre tale whenever one lives through execution and manages to do “God’s work” while hanging on by a thread. I supposed that Chaucer meant this to be empowering but it comes off as almost like the medieval version of a creepypasta—short, sweet, and morbid if you think about it. Still, it is also lackluster.
Our modern tale-teller, “Sister Lez Pearson”, fits this lackluster effort by choosing to simply reproduce the tale… that is it.
Pearson’s tale makes no effort at modernization. It doesn’t opt for flashy new mediums. It doesn’t really even put much effort into its plain text narrative. It seems that this short story was supposed to read like a brief bio of a saint but it comes off more like a half-finished rough draft. Honestly, it feels like whoever wrote this banged it out in twenty minutes. So, I will stop here instead of slamming it more. I didn’t like it, enough said.
My take: 1.5/10.