Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale Lines 989-1014

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 989-1014

  • When the knight realizes that he can't figure out what women love the most, he heads back to Arthur's court with a heavy heart.
  • On his way back to the court, he happens to come across 24 ladies or more dancing in a circle in the forest.
  • He rides toward the dancers, hoping to learn some wisdom from them.
  • Before he gets there, the women vanish.
  • The knight sees no creature except a very ugly old woman sitting on the green.
  • The old woman comes toward the knight, telling him that the way he's riding leads nowhere.
  • She asks him what he's looking for and tells him it will be to his advantage to tell her, since old people know many things.
  • The knight replies that he will die unless he is able to say what women most desire. If the hag can tell him, he promises, he'll reward her.