Pilgrim’s Prize (Pt.22): The Canon Yeoman’s Tale (Chaucer Journal)
It has been long overdue for a medieval writer to mention the Philosopher’s Stone. Bless my lucky stars, then, that such a stone is passingly mentioned in this tale.
Divided into three parts, the Yeoman’s Tale is one with greed and behavior at the center. Morally, it is a tale that stresses that there are no shortcuts in life and God’s laws are unassailable; that if someone comes to you promising a quick way to double your fortune, then it is best to leave them be since they are clearly charlatans. Each story in this tale centers on an alchemist who cons his customers. Whether it be a priest or common-folk, each is robbed of their wealth by a promise of a future too good to be true.
I won’t go into the specifics of each tale since I feel it is redundant to do so. Suffice it to say, the moral of the story repeats in slightly different scenarios making for an episodic taste seldom seen in the Middle Ages (though, maybe such a statement is a tad overblown). With the moral at the center of the story being scams—even “phishing” to use modern parlance—it is a story with surprising relevant connotations today.
Needless to say, this makes for easy picking for the modern tale-teller, “Yo Man Canon”.
Canon made a Tumblr blog. But not just any blog, a blog in the guise of an educational device “revealing” the murky phishing scams and spam emails we all get. In the blog, each post is a supposed revelation of a scam or spam comment that the author received; complete with snarky ads about gold and hellfire, I consider this adaptation of a Chaucerian tale to be among my favorite from Pilgrim Literary. It is modern, relevant, and an abstract piece of art which connect the moral of Chaucer’s tale to contemporary concerns but only secularized; with clever allusions to Chaucer’s tale abounding, it was fun to read and find the hidden easter eggs. Sure, the moral line is thin, since, after all, Chaucer was ranting about greed and this adaptation is essentially trying to save the monetary form by educating, but that is insignificant in my opinion.
Much like Chaucer’s tale, though, this is something to really experience for yourselves, so click on the link and probe. I gladly give this highly original work a 9/10.