The Canterbury Tales

The Cook

Why can't the cook tell his tale.

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The Host turns to the sleeping cook, and asks whether any man might be able to wake him. Awaking, pale and unalert, the Cook proclaims that he would rather sleep than have some of the best wine in Cheapside. The Manciple steps in courteously, excusing the cook, and then mocking him – his open mouth, which the devil could put his foot in, his stinking breath – to his face for his drunkenness. The Cook is furious, but too drunk to speak, and promptly falls off his horse. Everyone lifts him up out of the mud, and the Host addresses the Manciple, telling him that the Cook is too drunk to tell a tale, and has more than enough to do keeping himself out of the mud and on his horse.