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Summary

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale Lines 213 – 252 Summary Page 1

  • The miller goes inside again and says nothing to the clerks, but does his business and plays along with them until the corn is completely ground.
  • When the meal is sacked and bound, John goes outside and finds his horse missing.
  • He cries out, "Oh no!" and "Alas! Our horse is gone Aleyn! By God's bones, step on it, hurry! Alas, we've lost our warden's horse!"
  • Aleyn completely forgets about both meal and corn; gone is his cautiousness and care.
  • "What, which way has he gone?" he cries.
  • The miller's wife comes running out of the house.
  • She says, "Alas! Your horse has gone to the field to frolic with the wild mares, as quickly as he can."
  • "A curse on the hand that tied him so ill, and he that should have wound the reins up more thoroughly!"
  • "Alas," says John, "Aleyn, for Christ's sake, lay down your sword, as I will mine."
  • "I am as fast as a deer; by God's heart, he will not escape us both!"
  • "Why didn't you put him in the barn? By God, Aleyn, you are a fool!"
  • And with that, both of these foolish students begin to run toward the field.
  • When the miller sees that they are gone, he steals half a bushel of their flour, then tells his wife to make it into a cake.
  • He says, "I believe the clerks were afraid of some trickery. But a miller can still outsmart a clerk, despite all the clerk's book-learning."
  • "Now let them go on their way! Look where they go; let the children play! They won't catch the horse so easily, I do declare."
  • These foolish clerks run up and down, yelling, "Keep! Keep! Stand! Watch out for the rear! Go whistle, and I shall keep him here!"
  • But to make a long story short, despite their best efforts the clerks are not able to catch the horse until nightfall, so quickly does he run from them.
  • Finally, they manage to catch him by cornering him in a ditch.

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