The Friar begged our second tale to tell
We agreed, but one threatened to rebel:
"And what," The Pardoner sneered, "Could you tell
To us? You Glory in the hunt as well
As in wealth." To which The Friar then re-
Plied, "Practice what you preach, my friend. Please re-
Serve your judgment to the end. And now…
I start upon a dreary tale of how
Trust is misplaced, with but a single thought,
Of how we trust those we really ought not,
Of when we're tempted by the easy path shown
Through Liar's words and we must choose alone,
We must decide. Many times we fall far
But none, I think, as far as Sundavar.
Remember as I speak that these words are
The cursèd tale of Sundavar.
"Sundavar, a royal stag, took great pride
In all he did, until the day he died.
His coat, the color of mahogany,
Mixed with red-gold was such a sight to see.
He had a dozen does, which all would bear
His fawns, his line grew through his time there.
His crown had fourteen tines, he liked to brag,
And his antlers made him the King of Stags.
And this, he would have been forever more…
Had the king not gone hunting for a boar.
The king entertained his guests that fall day:
They all went hunting down the wooded way;
All mounted upon their noble steeds; they
Had the king's hunting dogs, all bark and bay.
They went out for boar, a fine meal they are,
But the man on the grey spotted Sundavar.
The hounds called back, the hunt changed course this time:
Hunting he who fell from kingship into grime.
The hunt continued through the day and still
Hunter, hunted never tired, lost will.
At noon, when hunters stopped for midday meal;
Seen by none, the king's dog away did steal.
Aramin, the King of Hounds, was the best
Of that king's pack, the slyest, headed west.
His sleek gray coat hidden in the shadows,
Aramin came, unnoticed upon his foe:
The King of Stags thus met the King of Hounds
And thus the Stag's last hiding place was found.
But Sundavar stopped as the hound called out
"Brother!" shouted Aramin, "Let me slay your doubt:
Too long have both our kinds been filled with hate…
Let us end it now, though it be fierce and great –
My pack, as you know, follows close behind
And the brush leaves no room for you to wind.
I know a safe path, If you so desire,
I could help you race death to the wire…
For poor sir, I was so moved by your plight,
I cannot help but aid your cursèd flight."
And so, the cursèd Sundavar believed
This foul dog acted with a noble deed.
Aramin showed the trail of which he spoke,
Turned and said, "About this, please do not joke:
Should one of my kind see you chasing me,
It would mean torment to no end, you see,
So I beg of you, go first, I behind
Will call the way so you your life can find."
O! how merciful Sundavar was for
Aramin, his true savior and more!
It never crossèd his mind, as the hound
Kept to his heels, his doom might soon be found.
And Lo! Behold, in front of him, there
Was a yawning gorge, straight, without a stair.
Still he thought the mistake was Aramin's
Yet, as he stopped, turned to question him,
Aramin was joined by all of his kind
And he could hear the hunters' horns close behind."
The party was cloaked in silence until
The Woman of Bath laughed her laugh so shrill.
"Good Friar," said she, "What did happen next?"
"Must you have an end?" said he, clearly vexed,
"An end is nothing but disappointment,
A way of hiding what was clearly meant…
So do not ask again, for as I live,
There is not an ending that I can give."
And as we all continued on our way,
I came up next to the Friar. "I say,"
Said I to he, "that was quite a speech; I
Readily agree, 'til the day I die.
But still I ask, if you had need to choose
Between a certain kind of fire, whose
Would be the victory? Would Sundavar
Escape his foes and die in countries far?
Or did he die upon that day, slain: by
Dog or gorge? How did that 'cursèd' stag die?"
The Friar then replied to me, "However
You wish it, so mote it be….but never
Have I had a finer meal since the day
We caught the King of Stags by the wooded way."