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The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale Lines 358-399 Summary

  • It is very difficult to say how many wonders Jesus works as a result of these brothers, Valerian and Tiburtius.
  • But finally, to make a long story short, the sergeants of Rome look for these two.
  • They bring them before Almachius the Prefect, who questions them, and learns of their intentions.
  • He sends them to the shrine of Jupiter (the Roman god). Almachius says, "Cut off the head of whoever will not sacrifice to Jupiter. This is my command here."
  • Maximus, an officer, and his assistant take these two brothers. When Maximus leads the saints (Valerian and Tiburtius) forward, he weeps for pity.
  • When Maximus hears the brothers' teaching, he gets permission from the executioners to take them to his house.
  • With their preaching, they root out the false faith of Maximus, his household, and the executioners, and convince them to believe in God alone.
  • When night falls, Cecilia comes to Maximus's house with priests who baptize everyone there.
  • Afterward, when day breaks, Cecilia steadfastly says to them, "Now, Christ's own beloved knights, cast away the works of darkness and arm yourself in armor of light. Truly, you have lived through a great battle. Your course is run, you have preserved your faith. Go now to the crown of life that never ends. The rightful judge that you have served will give it you as you have deserved."
  • And after this happens, as I've just told you, men lead them forth to make the sacrifice.
  • But when they are brought to the place, to get right to the point, Valerian and Tiburtius refuse to burn incense or make a sacrifice to Jupiter.
  • Instead, they get down on their knees with humble hearts and steadfast characters, and lose their heads in that place. (They're beheaded.)
  • Valerian and Tiburtius's souls go to the king of grace.

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