A friend of mine used to quote a poem that told the fictionalized story of Chaucer writing the first lines of the Prologue of The Canterbury Tales:
"Whan that Aprill with his ... ".
When he gets to the word for "showers" he paused and had to choose between the French version of the word and "shoures", which is Anglo-Saxon. He chooses "shoures", and the English language is launched.
I've been searching all over for where this delightful poem comes from and I can't find it anywhere. Does it ring any bells with you? Can you end my search?