The Canterbury Tales


The Tale of Sir Topas

After the Prioress tells her story, the Host begins to tell some jokes to try to make people laugh. He then encourages the Narrator, Chaucer, to tell a funny story. Chaucer says that he only knows a single story, one he heard long ago. He tells the story of Sir Topas, a knight who lived in Flanders. Sir Topas was renowned as a hunter, archer, and wrestler. He was pursued by a number of women, but ignored their advances. One day, as he rests near a water hole, Sir Topas has a dream of the Elf Queen and decides to search for her. Sir Topas encounters a three-headed giant who threatens him and tells him that he has entered the Elf Queen’s kingdom. The giant threatens him, and they agree to have a duel. Sir Topas goes to his father’s castle and prepares for the battle with the giant. The Narrator does not complete his story because the Host interrupts him, complaining about Chaucer’s rhyming, and asks him to tell something in prose.

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