The Miller’s Tale – retold by Dr Seuss

by Paul A. Freeman
The Write Idea
First Place, September 2021
Judged by Donna Emerson


The Carpenter’s Wife
was a nubile young wench
who wanted to put
her old man on the bench
and spend with their lodger
some time in the sack
at it like bunnies
till dawn’s ruddy crack.
One night, with the Carpenter
out of the way
their scheme started well
but it soon ran astray;
a vain parish clerk,
bewitched by the Wife
came by playing music
and sang of Love’s strife.
So out of the window
the Wife thrust her bum,
no moon lit the darkness
and thinking she’d come
to kiss him
the parish clerk’s lips met her arse,
though quickly he fathomed
what just came to pass.
He borrowed an iron
from a smithy – red hot –
to sear the offending Wife
plum on the bot.
The lodger, alas
shoved his rump out instead
and paid for misusing
the Carpenter’s bed.


I enjoyed this bawdy take-off on the Miller’s Tale, the second of the fourteenth century Canterbury Tales. Its musicality, humor, and sense of complete story comes from the comic rhyme scheme of Dr. Seuss which allows straight rhyme and half rhyme, as well as repetition. These structural elements encourage economy of words, all pointed toward the final revenge. --Donna Emerson

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