The Manciple was an
officer who had the care of
victuals for an
Inn of Court—like the Temple.
The particular individual who
the party was a wily man who had more than thirty masters, and made
of them all. Yet he was a man "whom purchasers might take as an example
How to be wise in buying of their victual."
It happened that at
a certain stage of the journey
Weaver sat down to a light repast.
The Miller produced five loaves and
the Weaver three.
The Manciple coming upon the scene asked permission
eat with them, to which they agreed.
When the Manciple had fed he laid
down eight pieces of money and said with a sly smile, "Settle betwixt
yourselves how the money shall be fairly divided. 'Tis a riddle for thy
discussion followed, and many of the pilgrims joined in it.
and the Sompnour held that the Miller should receive five pieces and
Weaver three, the simple Ploughman was ridiculed for suggesting that
Miller should receive seven and the Weaver only one, while the
the Monk, and the Cook insisted that the money should be divided
between the two men.
opinions were urged with
vigour, until it was finally decided that the Manciple, as an expert in
such matters, should himself settle the point.
His decision was quite
What was it?
Of course, all three are supposed to have eaten
equal shares of the bread.