The Canterbury Tales: the Man of Law's Tale Lines 603-658
By Chaucer, Geoffrey
Soon after this, the Constable arrives home, bringing with him King Alla. He takes one look at his dead wife and basically loses it.
It doesn't help that in the bed, he sees the bloody knife lying next to Custance...
... who, by the way, is so consumed with grief that she can barely string to words together.
The Constable describes it all to King Alla, who gets the whole story of how Custance showed up in a rudderless boat a while back, etc.
The king's heart is filled with pity at the misfortune of so good a creature as Custance (never mind the fact that she just woke up in bed with her bestie and a bloody knife).
Just as a lamb brought to the slaughter, so stands Custance before the king. The false knight, worker of this treachery, accuses Custance of the murder.
Nonetheless, there is great mourning among the people, who say they can not believe that Custance has done something so wicked. She's just too good.
For to them she has always seemed so virtuous and affectionate toward Hermengyld. Everyone in that household bears witness to this, except that jerky knight.
The King suspects the Knight of some suspicious motive, and decides to dig deeper into this situation to learn the truth.
Custance knows she needs a miracle here. The evidence is pretty damning after all. So what does she do? She prays, of course: "Immortal God, who saved Susannah from false accusations, and you, merciful Mary, if I am innocent of this crime, be my help or I shall die."
Nothing so far. Custance is being led to her execution, all alone, with no one to beg for help.