Original Text

Modern Text

‘Yis,’ quod this carpenter, ‘ful yore ago.’
“Yeah, of course,” replied the carpenter. “In olden days.”
‘Hastow nat herd,’ quod Nicholas, ‘also
The sorwe of Noë with his felawshipe,
Er that he mighte gete his wyf to shipe?
Him had be lever, I dar wel undertake,
At thilke tyme, than alle hise wetheres blake,
That she hadde had a ship hir-self allone.
And ther-fore, wostou what is best to done?
This asketh haste, and of an hastif thing
360Men may nat preche or maken tarying.
“And haven’t you heard how nervous Noah was before he’d gotten everyone on board the ark? His wife gave him so much trouble before getting on the ship that I bet he’d have given up all his animals not to deal with her if he could. Point is, we’ve got to hurry if we’re going to make all the necessary arrangements to survive. We don’t have much time.
Anon go gete us faste in-to this in
A kneding-trogh, or elles a kimelin,
For ech of us, but loke that they be large,
In whiche we mowe swimme as in a barge,
And han ther-inne vitaille suffisant
But for a day; fy on the remenant!
The water shal aslake and goon away
Aboute pryme upon the nexte day.
But Robin may nat wite of this, thy knave,
370Ne eek thy mayde Gille I may nat save;
Axe nat why, for though thou aske me,
I wol nat tellen Goddes privetee.
Suffiseth thee, but if thy wittes madde,
To han as greet a grace as Noë hadde.
Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute,
Go now thy wey, and speed thee heer-aboute.
“Here’s what you need to do: Go out and find three large troughs or bathtubs for the three of us to use as boats to float in. Make sure you put enough food in each tub to last a day. We won’t need any more that that because the flood will subside by nine o’clock the next morning. Now, you can’t tell Robin, your servant, or Jill, your maid, any of this. Don’t ask me why because I can’t tell you all of God’s secrets. Just know that God has given you a special opportunity—just as He gave Noah in the Bible—and I’ll be able to save your wife too. We’ve just got to hurry because we don’t have a lot of time.