The Host asks the Clerk to cheer up and tell a merry tale, and the Clerk agrees to tell a tale by the Italian poet Petrarch. Griselde is a hardworking peasant who marries into the aristocracy. Her husband tests her fortitude in several ways, including pretending to kill her children and divorcing her. He punishes her one final time by forcing her to prepare for his wedding to a new wife. She does all this dutifully, her husband tells her that she has always been and will always be his wife (the divorce was a fraud), and they live happily ever after.
Shortly after their departure the day, the pilgrims draw straws. The Knight, who draws the shortest straw, agrees to tell the first story — a noble story about knights and honor and love. When the Knight finishes his story, the Host calls upon the Monk. The drunken Miller, however, insists that it is his turn, and he proceeds to tell a story about a stupid carpenter. At the end of his story, everyone roars with laughter — except the Reeve, who had once been a carpenter. To get back at the Miller, the Reeve tells a lowbrow story about a cheating miller. At the end of The Reeve's Tale, the Cook, Roger, promises to tell a true story, but he doesn't complete his tale.