Fab-Lib: The Gentil Compaignye of Three
Gentil rederes, as promised, Ich have a litel tale to yive unto yow, and it involveth sum audience participacioun.
For the feeste of the Newe Yeare, at the grete urginge of Virginia Wulfstan and the othirs of the Domesdaye groupe, Ich have made a New Yeares covenaunt: namely, that Ich shal retourne unto the writinge of my litel “Tales of Canterburye” projecte.
Many monethes agoon, Ich had been toolinge aweye at the Haberdassheres Tale, the which was nat really verye excitinge. So for to maken the retourne to thys project a sweete oon, Ich have put the Haberdassheres Tale yn the drawere, and have goon straight to the fabliaux. Ywis, yt is prettye awesome that but fewe have maad thes litel Frensshe tales of naughtinesse ynto the Englisshe tonge. And yet Ich feere that Ich have but litel graspe of the genre, so Ich have composid the followinge experiment, the which maye peraventure amuse thee, gentil redere.
For that the fabliau by yts kynde hath certayn certayntees, the which yive it an essence, Ich have essayed heere to produce a fabliau forme that kan be chaunged by the rederes and yet keepe some maner of yts fabliausity. Ye maye thynke swich an exercise queynte, but Ich saye yow that thys maner of thinge resembleth the “quodlibet” of a universitee debate, yn which the audience putteth yn the termes of the argument. And thus ye koude calle thys creatioun a fabliau quodlibetal, or eek a “fab-lib.”
Sothly, the maner of proceedinge may be explainid withouten much trouble. Ich have belowe y-writ the outlyne of a fabliau, the which containeth many blanke spaces. Bifor the fabliau, Ich have listed the maner of wordes that the tale ytself doth lacke. Ye, rederes, shal fille yn the wordes from yower corage or fantayse bifor ye see the tale ytself. Thanne, whan ye rede of the tale ye maye putte yn the wordes ye have chosen, and ye schall fynde a moost plesaunt and different fab-lib eech and every tyme.
Yif it plese yow, ye maye poost the most deliteful passages from yower owene fab-libbes yn the commentes.
Heere followeth the Fab-Lib of Galfridus Chaucer, Clerk of the Kinges Workes, Concerning the Compaignye of III:
Lyste of woordes:
1. universitee towne
3. emotional qualitee resultinge from contente
5. adjectif denotinge extremitie
7. anothir maner of liquor
8. yet anothir kynde of liquor, the which hath a greene colour
9. large animal
10. type of buildinge
11. animal that ys nakid
12. Exclamation relatinge to a seynt associated wyth nakednesse
13. hair metal star
14. substaunce founde neare ants
16. cookinge ingredient
17. anothir cookinge ingredient
18. fablid ruler yn the East.
20. unit used to measure sleepe
21. adjectif denoting wrath
22. savory herb
23. wommanes name
24. part of bodye
25. racy but acceptable worde for anatomicale feature oonlie possessid by men
26. adjectif meaninge intelligent
27. domesticated byrde
29. item of furniture
30. adjectif generallie considerede unfortunate whanne applyed yn a stereotypical fashion to a female, regrettable thogh swich generalisaciouns maye be they seeme inherent to the fabliau forme
31. worde usid to designate a wonder
32. type of pastrye, plural
33. smalle item of ornamentacioun
33. place wher clerkes doon bisynesse
34. worde designatinge a dilemma
35. burrowing animal
36. type of rock
37. predatory mammal
38. livestock enclosure
39. worde for a man of loose morales
40. venue for naughti bisynesse
41. a Celtic Otherworld
42. Late Antique Writer
Whilom did dwelle yn [universitee towne] a riche makere of ropes, who did rente the toppe floore of hys hous to three [adjectif] yonge maydes.
Many a daye did the three yonge maydes dwelle yn that palce, wyth muchel [emotionale qualitee resultinge from contente], until oon of hem did marrye a good man, a wright who was a [craftsperson]. The two who did nat marrye were yclepede Janette du Boys and Christine de Neyge, and they were filled wyth sorwe for they needed to fynde a newe roommate.
It happed upon a weekende that Janette and Christine did throwe their oold friende an hekke of an engagement partye. So [adjectif denotinge extremitie] was that partye, and so deepe did the two joly maydes drinke of [liquor] and [anothir kynde of liquor] and [yet anothir kynde of liquor, the which hath a greene colour] that Janette and Christine did wake wyth a hangovir that did pounde yn their heades lyk unto a [large animal] on the top of a [type of buildinge]. And in the morweninge, they did comfort themselves and rubbe their heades. And shortly when Janette went unto the privy, she cryede out for ther was a man yn the batthe-tubbe, who was as nakid as an [animal that ys nakid].
“[Exclamation relatinge to a seynt associated wyth nakednesse], wherefore ys yt that a manne ys yn my bathtubbe?” seyde Janette.
“Feere nat, goode ladye,” seyde the man, “For Ich am a symple clerk, that has come to thys place for to lerne art, and Ich am ycleped Jankyn the Tripper. And Ich am y-layd yn thys tubbe for Ich did crasshe the weddinge partye laste nyght, and did drynke moore than [hair metal star], and so Ich do fynde myself yn thys tubbe.”
Withoute delaye, Janette did clothe Jankyn for to scape fro syne. And she wrappid hym in a gowne of hers that was close by, for she had no othir clothes to spare.
Janykn and Janette came out of the privy, and ther was Christine cookinge a breakfaste. But yet the breakfaste nas nat good, for she had made the egges taste lyk unto [substaunce founde neare ants]. And Jankyn seyde, “Let us maken vertu of necessitee. Ich knowe wel the crafte of cookery fro whan Ich did studye in Orleans. If ye fetche for me [cookinge ingredient] and [anothir cookinge ingredient], Ich shalle make yow a breakfaste that shall surpass those of [fablid ruler yn the East.]”
Nowe leve we the two maydes and oon clerke, and lat us see what did hap yn the chambres of the ropere, the which did lyve directlie downstayres. Lo, the oold ropere and hys [adjectif] wyf were soore troublid, for the partye of the night bifor had kepte them from sleepinge even oon [unit used to measure sleepe].
“Telle off thos maydes, husbounde, or thou art no trewe man,” seyde the roperes wyf. But the ropere toold hys wyf that he was soore tyred from the makinge of roopes, and he seyde he had no relisshe for to cause trouble to yonge maydes.
“Ywis, thou hast no relish to causen eny maner trouble for maydes yonge nor eek wyves slightlye oolder, thou shrimpe,” seyde the roperes wyf, and so she wente up the stayres herself and was verye [adjectif denoting wrath], and she wolde telle the maydes to nevir have swich a partye again.
So it fel thus that the roperes wyf came up the stayres and wythoute knockinge did come ynto the chambre, and bihold! She sawe Jankyn yn the gowne of a woman and he did clippe a sprig of [savory herb] from the plante nexte to the couche. And Janette did get muchel worryed.
And the roperes wyf cryede out: “Wherefore hastow a manne yn thy chambres, harlot? And why hastow clothed hym yn a florale gowne?”
“Nay, thys nys no man,” seyde Janette, “Thys ys ower newe prospectif room-mate, [womannes name].”
“Thou liest in thy [part of bodye],” seyde the oold roperes wyf, “For Ich knowe woman from man, and a woman hath no [racy but acceptable worde for anatomicale feature oonlie possessid by men].”
“Ye are mistaken, Goodwyfe Ropere,” seyde Janette, who was verye [adjectif meaninge intelligent], and she led hym and the roperes wyf yn to a derke syde-chambre where there was a [domesticated byrde] and a [fruyte]. In the derknesse, Janette arrangid thes yn clever wyse and then made the roperes wyf touch a [item of furniture]. And the roperes wyf seyde, “Ay, I see nowe she ys a woman!” and she took herself down-stayres to hir housbond.
Yet as it happed, Christine and Janette in their grete hungovernesse had forgotten that a mayde was cominge to visit to see yf she wolde lodge with them as their newe roommate. And thus a mayde who was [adjectif generallie considerede unfortunate whanne applyed yn a stereotypical fashion to a female, regrettable thogh swich generalisaciouns maye be they seeme inherent to the fabliau forme] came up the stayres. And thys mayde wore, so it happed, a gowne much lyk unto the gowne that the two maydes had yiven unto Jankyn the Tripper.
And the roperes wyf toold the ropere of the mayde who lookid so muchel lyk unto a man, and the ropere seyde “Ich shal see thys [worde usid to designate a wonder], for Ich feere that ye have been tricked, my wyf, and they keepe sum maner of manne up there and do synne wyth hym.”
The ropere went up-stayres, and anon it happed that yn the chambre the ropere sawe the newe mayde who wolde be a roommate. And he seyde, “Thogh my wyf saye thou be a woman, Ich know that thou hast made some jape or trickerie upon her, and Ich shalle prove that thou be a man.”
The ropere grabbed at the maydes bosom through her gowne, and he sayde, “Biholde, these [type of pastrye, plural] are but fals.” Yet they were nat!
The mayde did shoute and did stikke her [smalle item of ornamentacioun] in hys nose, and he was soore shamed and did go down-stayres to hys wyf, repentinge hys rudenesse and sayinge that ther was no man upstayres. And the mayde departid, for she koud fynde a bettir rentale elswhere.
Nowe passe we to Jankyn and Christine and Janette, who did gadir rounde the boord for to ete of the meale that Jankyn had cookid. Yt was the moost deintevous and savorie foode that evir Christine and Janette had tasted.
Then Janette bethought her sotilly and seyde, “We two kan nat cooke so wel, and swich a cook wolde make a fyne roommate.”
Jankyn did smyle and seye, “That wel me liketh. For Ich have come to thys towne but yisterday and have no place to staye, save for the stable of the taverne at the signe of the Beagle Roiale. Thys is a fyne rental and verye close to [place wher clerkes doon bisynesse].”
Yet Christine seyde, “But welawey, the oold ropere wol nat suffer us to have a man lyve among us. Thys is a [worde designatinge a dilemma, Ich suggest kankedort by cause yt ys a right good word]!”
Whiles the three so talkid, the ropere and hys wyf did have muchel wrangling among themselves, for the roperes wyf wolde have hym come up to apologize for his acciouns, and he wolde nat. And the roperes wyf seyde that the ropere was naught but a [burrowing animal] and a [type of rock], and she pulled hym up the stayres.
Than fel it thus that the ropere and hys wyf breste open the doore and ther founde the two maydes and the oon man etinge togedir.
A knife wyth gleminge blade the ropere did pulle right faste from hys boote, and he menacid the yonge clerke.
“Cry out harrow! Ther ys a [predatory mammal] in the [livestock enclosure]. By my soule, Ich nam no [worde for a man of loose morales] nor wil I kepe no [venue for naughti bisynesse]! Thou hast synned yn my house and thou shalt paye wyth thy lyf!”
Janette and Chrstine cryed out wyth feere, and Jankyn did rayse hys armes yn front of hys face for to warden hym from the knyves edge.
It happed that the Kyng and Queene of [a Celtic Otherworld] were walkinge ther yn the apartment, unseene by the mortal folke. For the Queene had grete delite to look upon rope-makinge and twyne and othir manner of fibrous construccioun, and the Kynge did oblige her by cause a long tyme agoon he had hir ravysshed down ynto hys underworld, as [Late Antique Writer] doth maken mencioun. It happed that they walked in on thys contencioun invisibli and did laughen at it.
“Biholde, my lady,” seyde the Kyng, “Thys man hath been caught in a tricky situacioun and shal be soore beaten. But Ich shal yive unto oon of thes maydes the yifte of speche so wys and resonable that the oold ropere shal make hys peace, and shal permit the clerk to lyven wyth the maydes.”
“Do ye that, my good lord,” seyde the Queene, “but forsooth, unusual gender-mixede livinge arrangements sholde nat come wythout heighjinkes. And thus Ich shal put a spelle on thes three, that always they shall be gettinge ynto unusual and likerous predicamentz. And lo, thogh ech tyme they koud solve eny problem by simplye telling the othirs of sum smalle secret or plan, they never shall do so until the verye ende, when thinges have bicom completelye messed up.”
And so it happed that through the sorcerie of the Kyng, Christine did seye that Jakke the clerk was a lovir of men al oon, and she swore that he had no likynge for women. By cause of the Kinges powere and the foolishnesse of the ropere, the ropere did believen her.
So ende we our mery tale, and so it happed that thes three did lyve togedir for many a yeere, and had many an aventure, as the Queene had seyde they wolde. And thes three did calle themselves a joly compaignye and they made a mirtheful virelaye that thei songe togedir. The note, I trowe, ymaked was in Fraunce, the wordes were swiche as ye may here fynde:
Come thee and clappe vpon ower gate
Longtyme have we wayted to see thee anewe,
Heere hires and hys and hires the kissinge ys,
For three, god woot, ys compaignye trewe.
Come thee and dauncen upon ower flete,
Trippe thee and tredde a paas al newe,
For there ys daliaunce heere that nedeth thy chere,
For three, sans doute, ys compaignye trewe.