The Parson's Tale is a prose sermon on the Seven Deadly Sins (Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lechery) and their respective remedies, such as humility, love, patience, fortitude, mercy, temperance, and chastity. The sermon very closely follows the manner common in manuals of penitence. In the beginning the parson explains that the root of the tree of penitence is contrition, its branches and leaves are confession, the fruit is satisfaction, the seed is grace which incorporates the Love of God.

In its overtly moral and instructive tone the Parson's Tale convincingly corresponds to the portrait given in the General Prologue of this ideal Christian shepherd.

The Parson's Tale