Storm!

There’s a storm coming! It was windy all night, and it’s windy still, and occasionally wet. Apparently it’s going to rain heavily tomorrow and go on to snow in the mountains. It’s actually misting now — I think we’re inside a cloud.

Anyway. I’m feeling slightly more festive. Today is the annual “Holiday Curtailment Party.” I’m about to step out to procure some “Holiday Curtailment” cookies from the bakery.

I’m on call for edits to the paper on the Pardoner’s Tale. What an eery story! Do you remember it? I will give the quick synopsis. In Flanders lives a company of youths who practice folly, riot and hazard in stews and taverns where they dance and play at dice, day and night, in the company of tumblers, harpists, lutists, fruiterers and waferers. (!) After a night of drunkeness, and hearing that a friend of theirs has died of the plague, three of them leave to go to another city where the plague is. The idea is that they want to find Death and kill him. As they walk along . . .

Whan they han goon nat fully half a mile,
Right as they wolde han troden over a stile,
An oold man and a povre with hem mette.
This olde man ful mekely hem grette,
And deyde thus, “Now, lordes, God yow see!”

They rudely accost the old man and one asks how he can possibly be alive when he’s so old. And he says:

This olde man gan looke in his visage,
And seyde thus: “For I ne kan nat fynde
A man, though that I walked into Ynde,
Neither in citee nor in no village,
That wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age;
And therfore mooth I han myn age stille,
As longe tyme that it is Goddes wille.
Ne Deeth, allas, ne wol nat han my lif.
Thus walk I lyk a restelees kaityf,
And on the ground, which is my moodres gate,
I knokke wuth my staf bothe erly and late,
And syey, “Leeve mooder, leet me in!”
. . .
But yet to me she wol nat do that grace,
For which ful pale and welked is my face.

.. .

Feels like the sort of weather in which one might meet such a man, standing by a stile . . .

Happy Holiday Curtailment!

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