Chaucer for children
Although I have told Chaucer’s stories for many years, this presentation was originally structured for the Museum of East Anglian Life at Stowmarket. While tailored for 6 – 12 year olds this worked equally well for both younger and older visitors.
Though it is possible that some(!) of Chaucer’s riper stuff may be unsuitable for tender young minds, children certainly do enjoy ideas of comeuppance and just deserts (and a bit of gore)
I have particularly adapted and developed these three Canterbury Tales:
- The Nun’s Priests Tale – Chaunticleer & Pertelote:
- or a warning against boastfulness & vanity
- The Wife of Bath’s Tale – What Do Women Want?
- or a lesson in humility (& good sense)
- The Pardoner’s Tale – The Three Living & Three Dead
- or the wages of drink & greed
As well as Chaucer’s tales I also incorporate stories about St Tom himself, of medieval London and the journey and towns along the pilgrims’ route to Canterbury: Everyone needs to know why the wicked people of Strood still have tails and see just how William of Perth pointed out his murderers at Rochester…
Where there is time it’s also fun to play with some of Chaucer’s language and individual words.
I’m happy to work in either secular or religious dress: here I appear as a member of The Sisters of the Common Life.
I have a huge additional range of stories about saints, miracles and relics – and a clear explanation for the appearance of duplicates…
My own very fine collection of the relics includes a thread from the Virgin’s robe and an arm bone from one of the Holy Innocents slaughtered by Herod.
I also give more wide ranging talks on the topic of medieval pilgrimage which look at travel, provisioning and circuits; consider the complex pattern of plenary years and indulgences; explore the lives of famous (and infamous) pilgrims; look at votives, offerings and cures – and finally describe the shattering of the Reformation.
Talks can be linked either to a particular shrine site and associated saint’s days (as at Gloucester Cathedral, above) or to a more general feast or festival.