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Shal renne to the toune, and that full swythe,
And bring us breed and wyn ful prively.

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And two of us shal kepen subtilly

This tresor wel; and, if he wol nat tarie,
Whan it is night, we wol this tresor carie
By oon assent, wher-as us thinketh best.”
That oon of hem the cut brought in his fest,
And bad hem drawe, and loke wher it wol falle;
And it fil on the yongeste of hem alle;

from here to my house, or else to yours for you know well that all this gold is ours then we should be in great felicity. But truly, it can't be done by day; people would say that we were highwaymen, and would have us hanged because of our own treasure. It must be carried off at night, with as much thought and care as possible. Therefore I suggest that we all draw lots, and let us see where the lot will fall; and the one to whom the lot falls shall go blithely and quickly to town, and bring us bread and wine secretly. And two of us will take good care of the treasure; and if the other does not waste time, we will take the gold tonight by agreement wherever seems best." One of them held the straws in his hand, and bade them draw, and see how it would come out; and it fell to the youngest of them.

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And forth toward the toun he wente anon.
And al-so sone as that he was gon,

That oon of hem spak thus un-to that other,
"Thou knowest wel thou art my sworne brother,
Thy profit wol I telle thee anon.

Thou woost wel that our felawe is agon;

And heer is gold, and that ful greet plentee,
That shal departed been among us three.
But natheles, if I can shape it so

That it departed were among us two,

Hadde I nat doon a freendes torn to thee?"

That other answerde, "I noot how that may be;
He woot how that the gold is with us tweyę,
What shal we doon, what shal we to him seye?"
"Shal it be conseil?" seyde the firste shrewe,
"And I shal tellen thee, in wordes fewe,
What we shal doon, and bring it wel aboute."
"I graunte," quod that other, "out of doute,

And immediately he set out for town.

As soon as he was gone, one said to the other: "Thou knowest well thou art my sworn brother; I am going to tell thee something now for thy profit. Thou knowest well that our companion is gone, and here is plenty of gold that is to be divided among us three. Nevertheless if I can manage it so that it be divided between us two, would I be doing thee a friend's turn?"

The other answered, "I don't know how that can be done; he knows that we two have the gold; what shall we do, what shall we say to him?"

"May it be a secret?" said the first scoundrel. "If so, I will tell you in a few words what we shall do, and I will. bring it about."

"I agree," said the other, "without hesitation, that, on my

That, by my trouthe, I wol thee nat biwreye."

"Now," quod the firste, "thou woost wel we be tweye,

And two of us shul strenger be than oon.

Look whan that he is set, and right anoon

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Arys, as though thou woldest with him pleye;
And I shal ryve him thurgh the sydes tweye
Whyl that thou strogelest with him as in game;
And with thy dagger look thou do the same;
And than shal al this gold departed be,
My dere freend, bitwixen me and thee;
Than may we both our lustes al fulfille,
And pleye at dees right at our owene wille."
And thus acorded been thise shrewes tweye
To sleen the thridde, as ye han herd me seye.
This yongest, which that wente un-to the toun,

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Ful ofte in herte he rolleth up and doun
The beautee of thise florins newe and brighte.
"O lord!" quod he, "if so were that I mighte

Have al this tresor to my-self allone,
Ther is no man that liveth under the trone

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word, I won't betray you."

"Now," said the first, "thou knowest that we are two, and two are stronger than one. As soon as he sits down, get up, as if thou wouldst fool with him; then I will thrust my dagger through his sides while thou strugglest with him as if in fun, and do thou the same with thy dagger. Then, my dear friend, all this gold shall be divided between thee and me; then may we satisfy all our desires, and play at dice whenever we choose." Thus these two villains agreed, as you have heard, to slay the third.

The youngest, the one who went to town, often he ponders the beauty of the bright new florins. "Oh, Lord," said he, "if only I might have all this treasure to myself alone, no man living under the throne of God would live as merrily

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Of God, that sholde live so mery as I!"
And atte laste the feend, our enemy,

Putte in his thought that he shold poyson beye,
With which he mighte sleen his felawes tweye;
For-why the feend fond him in swich lyvinge,
That he had leve him to sorwe bringe,
For this was outrely his fulle entente
To sleen hem bothe, and never to repente.
And forth he gooth, no lenger wolde he tarie,
Into the toun, un-to a pothecarie,

And preyed him, that he him wolde selle
Some poyson, that he mighte his rattes quelle;
And eek ther was a polcat in his hawe,
That, as he seyde, his capouns hadde y-slawe,
And fayn he wolde wreke him, if he mighte,
On vermin, that destroyed him by nighte.

The pothecarie answerde, "And thou shalt have
A thing that, al-so God my soule save,

In al this world ther nis no creature,

That ete or dronke hath of this confiture

Noght but the mountance of a corn of whete,
That he ne shal his lyf anon forlete;

as I!" By and by the fiend, our enemy, put it into his thought to buy poison, with which he might slay his two companions; because the fiend found him leading such a life that he had permission to bring him to sorrow, for his settled intention was to slay them both and never to repent. Forth

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he went he would wait no longer to an apothecary in the town, and asked for some poison with which he might kill his rats, and also there was a polecat in his yard that, as he said, had slain his capons, and he wanted vengeance, if possible, on vermin that destroyed his property by night.

The apothecary answered: "Thou shalt have a mixture. that, as I hope God may save my soul, in all the world no creature may eat or drink of it- even a bit as large as a grain of wheat-without losing his life right away. Yes,

Ye, sterve he shal, and that in lasse whyle
Than thou wolt goon a paas nat but a myle;
This poyson is so strong and violent."

This cursed man hath in his hond y-hent
This poyson in a box, and sith he ran
In-to the nexte strete, un-to a man,
And borwed of him large botels three;
And in the two his poyson poured he;
The thridde he kepte clene for his drinke.
For al the night he shoop him for to swinke
In caryinge of the gold out of that place.
And whan this ryotour, with sory grace,
Had filled with wyn his grete botels three,
To his felawes agayn repaireth he.

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What nedeth it to sermone of it more?
For right as they had cast his deeth bifore,
Right so they han him slayn, and that anon.
And whan that this was doon, thus spak that oon,

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"Now lat us sitte and drinke, and make us merie,
And afterward we wol his body berie."
And with that word it happed him, par cas,

To take the botel ther the poyson was,

he will die in less time than thou canst travel a mile at a foot-pace, the poison is so strong and violent."

The cursed man took the box of poison, and ran to a man in the next street, and borrowed three large bottles from him; in two he poured his poison, the third he kept clean for his own He planned to spend the whole night in carrying the gold out of the place. Now when this rioter (the villain!) had filled his three large bottles with wine, he again repaired! to his comrades.

What's the use of preaching any more? For just as they planned, they slew him right away. When this was done, one said: "Now let us sit down and drink and make merry, and then we will bury his body." With that word he happened by chance to take up the bottle containing poison,

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