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Modern Text

‘Now John,’ quod Nicholas, ‘I wol nat lye;
I have y-founde in myn astrologye,
As I have loked in the mone bright,
330That now, a Monday next, at quarter-night,
Shal falle a reyn and that so wilde and wood,
That half so greet was never Noës flood.
This world,’ he seyde, ‘in lasse than in an hour
Shal al be dreynt, so hidous is the shour;
Thus shal mankynde drenche and lese hir lyf.’
“Now John,” said Nicholas. “I’m not lying to you when I say that I’ve learned through observation of the stars that there’s going to be a torrential rainstorm on Monday night, which is going to be twice as bad as Noah’s flood in the Bible. It’s going to rain so hard that the whole world will be under water in less than an hour. Everyone on Earth is going to die.
This carpenter answerde, ‘allas, my wyf!
And shal she drenche? allas! myn Alisoun!’
For sorwe of this he fil almost adoun,
And seyde, ‘is ther no remedie in this cas?’
The carpenter was shocked. “No! My wife!” he exclaimed. “Is she going to drown? No, no, not my Alison! Isn’t there anything we can do?”
340‘Why, yis, for gode,’ quod hende Nicholas,
‘If thou wolt werken after lore and reed;
Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed.
For thus seith Salomon, that was ful trewe,
“Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt nat rewe.”
And if thou werken wolt by good conseil,
I undertake, with-outen mast and seyl,
Yet shal I saven hir and thee and me
Hastow nat herd how saved was Noë,
Whan that our Lord had warned him biforn
350That al the world with water sholde be lorn?’
“Yes, in fact there is,” answered Tricky Nicky. “You can get out of this alive if you follow some simple advice from those who are wise in these matters. No matter how strange it may sound, do as I say. As the wise King Solomon once said, ‘Always seek advice, and you won’t regret it.’ I tell you that I know how to save you, your wife, and myself from drowning even though we don’t have a ship. Haven’t you heard the story about how Noah survived the flood because God warned him in advance?