The Clerk tells the story of Griselda whose patience is cruelly tested by her husband, Walter. He has the baby daughter taken away from the young mother. Later she has to give up her two year old son as well. Both children are brought up by Walter's sister. After eight years, Walter allegedly has his marriage to Griselda annulled by the Pope and sends her back to her old father. Then he announces his marriage to a young bride. Griselda helps preparing the young girl for the marriage feast without noticing that she is her own daughter. At that point Walter cannot stand his own cruelty any longer and confesses his tests to Griselda. Chaucer had a large choice of earlier versions of this story at his disposal from Petrarch's and Boccaccio's to various French ones.

The Clerk's Tale