The young boy first hears the song Alma Redemptoris and is captivated by its beauty and learns every word. He sings it everywhere and all the time so much that the Jews in his town were sick of it. The devil possessed the Jews and sparked an unthinkable idea. In short, they hired a murderer to slit his throat and threw him in the sewer. When the boy's mother went searching for him she found his corpse, slit throat and all but he was still able to miraculously sing Alma Redemptoris. They couldn't understand why and so when asked this is what he said about the Virgin Mary (The Prioress Tale verses 171-182):
171 And when came time that I my death must meet,
172 She came to me and bade me only sing
173 This anthem in the pain of my dying,
174 As you have heard, and after I had sung,
175 She laid a precious pearl upon my tongue.
176 Wherefore I sing, and sing I must, 'tis plain,
177 In honour of that blessed Maiden free,
178 Till from my tongue is taken away the grain;
179 And afterward she said thus unto me:
180 'My little child, soon will I come for thee,
181 When from thy tongue the little bead they take;
182 Be not afraid, thee I will not forsake.'
And so they take the pearl out of the boy's mouth and he stops singing and finally dies. I don't know why I thought it was beautiful but I did. When I read this, I couldn't help but think of, Martin Richard, the eight-year-old who was killed during that senseless terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon last week. Tragic beyond words but his memory much like the boy in the tale...beautiful.