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Of What Use Is the Bone?

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Pardoners move around the countryside and sell church pardons, including holy objects, clothing, bones, and other things that saints owned in the past. They claim that those bones have magical power. They can cure animals and human beings from different illnesses, such as snake bites, pox, scabs, and other sores. Pardoners carry around glass jars filled with pigs’ bones, making people believe these false relics are healing.

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In The Canterbury Tales, a Pardoner travels around the countryside and sells different kinds of church pardons. It includes holy pieces of paper, clothing, bones, and other objects that belonged to saints in the past. The pardoner aims at offering these relics to other pilgrims. He asserts that the items, including the bone, are holy relics with magical abilities. In terms of the bone, he affirms that it has the ability to cure humans and animals. He says:

“‘Good men,’ I say, ‘mark my words; wash this bone in any spring, and if a cow or calf or sheep or ox swell up that has been stung or bitten by any serpent, take water from this spring and wash its tongue and it will be healthy then”.

Later in his speech, he mentions that the bone has the power to cure human beings as well. However, in The Canterbury Tales, Pardoners are shady characters who can be described as marginalized. They travel around the country with a number of false relics pretending they belonged to saints in the past.

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