The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 17, 2016

April 17, 1387

"The Squire's Tale" is one of the stories in The Canterbury Tales. In this story we find Chaucer using a tiger as an example of extreme hardheartedness. The setup is a grieving bird whose mate has abandoned it. Here is the episode in modern English. The link above has both the original, and these lines....

There sat a falcon overhead full high,
That in a pitiful voice began to cry,
That all the wood resounded mournfully.
For she had beaten herself so pitiably

With both her wings that the red glistening blood
Ran down the tree trunk whereupon she stood.
And ever in one same way she cried and shrieked,
And with her beak her body she so pricked
That there's no tiger, nor a cruel beast
That dwells in open wood or deep forest,
Would not have wept, if ever weep he could...

The pilgrimage is believed by some to have started on April 17, 1387 in Chaucer's accounting.

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