Squire’s Response to the Wife of Bath’s Tale

The young squire in the company of the pilgrimage urged his mount into a gallop so that he could ride alongside his father, the knight. He had some questions about the truth of the Wife of Bath’s tale, but he did not want anyone to hear.

“Father,” he asked, “what did the wife mean by her tale?”

“It is a lesson for us as knights on the code of chivalry.”

“But father, what exactly is chivalry?”

“Well, my son, it seems you are old enough to understand now. Chivalry is not just a code of conduct that we as knights live by. It is a way of life. It started out simply enough. Kings would grant plots of land to knights for their services. But with great power and control came great responsibility; not only for the land, but for those who worked it.

In the beginning, those in positions of power and control in the estates understood the various responsibilities their job entailed. However, as these estates passed down through the generations, the tasks of an estate faded into distant memory. Those that were in charge began to feel entitled to anything they wanted. The Wife used her knight as an example of one of these men; in other words, how we shouldn’t act.”

“Well then why did the queen and her ladies not want to see him punished? He violated the code,” the Squire asked.

“It is hard to say; perhaps they had pity for him,” his father replied.

The rest of the day’s journey passed in silence between the father and son. The Squire had a lot to contemplate about what it meant to be a knight. He made his own vow never to disrespect any woman, especially if she was his own. From this moment on, he would strive to be like his father. He wanted to be the best squire and knight he could be.


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