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But whan thou hast, for hir and thee and me,
Y-geten us thise kneding-tubbes three,
Than shaltow hange hem in the roof ful hye,
380That no man of our purveyaunce spye.
And whan thou thus hast doon as I have seyd,
And hast our vitaille faire in hem y-leyd,
And eek an ax, to smyte the corde atwo
When that the water comth, that we may go,
And broke an hole an heigh, upon the gable,
Unto the gardin-ward, over the stable,
That we may frely passen forth our way
Whan that the grete shour is goon away—
Than shaltow swimme as myrie, I undertake,
390As doth the whyte doke after hir drake.
Than wol I clepe, “how! Alison! how! John!
Be myrie, for the flood wol passe anon.”
And thou wolt seyn, “hayl, maister Nicholay!
Good morwe, I se thee wel, for it is day.”
And than shul we be lordes al our lyf
Of al the world, as Noë and his wyf.
“Now, when you’ve gotten these three tubs, you should take some rope and hang them from the rafters of the ceiling where no one will be able to spot them. Do this and then put some food in them and an axe so that we can cut ourselves free from the house and float away like swans. Do this and the next day we’ll be able to say things such as, “How’s it going, Alison? How’re you doing, John? Don’t worry, the flood will be over soon!” And you’ll be able to reply, “Not bad! Look, it’s morning and the flood is over!” And then we’ll be lords of the world all our lives, just like Noah and his wife.
But of o thyng I warne thee ful right,
Be wel avysed, on that ilke night
That we ben entred in-to shippes bord,
400That noon of us ne speke nat a word,
Ne clepe, ne crye, but been in his preyere;
For it is Goddes owne heste dere.
“Oh, but there’s one other thing I forgot to mention: When we’re in the boats and waiting for the flood, we can’t talk to each other or make a sound, no matter what happens. We should be praying silently to ourselves because that’s how God wants it.