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The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale Lines 253 – 313 Summary

  • John and Aleyn walk back to the miller's house, as weary and wet as beasts in the rain.
  • "Alas," says John, "the day that I was born! Now we will be subject to mockery and scorn."
  • "Our corn has been stolen. Both the warden and our fellow scholars will call us fools, and so will the miller, alas!"
  • So John complains as he walks along the way toward the mill with the horse's reins in his hands.
  • He finds the miller sitting by his hearth.
  • It is nightfall, and the students can go no further.
  • They beseech the miller to offer them food and lodging for the night.
  • The miller says, "If there is any, you shall certainly have your part."
  • "My house is very small, but you have learned mathematics."
  • "Surely, with your theorems, you can make a space a mile wide out of twenty feet."
  • "See if this place suffices for you, or with your rhetoric make more room, as is your custom."
  • "Now, Symond," says John, "by Saint Cuthbert, you are always merry, and this is a fair answer."
  • "I have heard said, 'Man shall take one of two things: such as he finds, or such as he brings with him."
  • "But I especially ask you, dear host, for some meat, drink, and cheer."
  • "And we will pay for it in full, for with an empty hand men take no hawks."
  • "Look, here's our silver, ready to be spent."
  • This miller sends his daughter into town for ale and bread, and roasts a goose for the clerks.
  • He stables their horse so that it doesn't get free again.
  • In his own chamber, not ten feet from his own bed, he makes a sleeping-space for them from sheets and good blankets.
  • His daughter has a bed to herself in the same chamber, for there is no other bedchamber in the house.
  • Everyone eats and talks, taking solace in strong ale.
  • About midnight, they all go to bed.
  • This miller is all pale from drinking so much. He hiccups and snores loudly.
  • He goes to bed, and his wife with him.
  • She is as light and jolly as a jaybird in feather, so well has she wet her whistle with ale.
  • She sets the cradle at the foot of the bed, the better to rock it and nurse the baby.
  • When they've drunk everything there is in the crock, the daughter goes to bed.
  • John and Aleyn go to bed; they don't need any sleeping pills.
  • This miller has drunk so much ale that he snores like a horse in his sleep.
  • He doesn't seem to notice any of the air coming out of his tail-end, either.
  • His wife joins in the chorus, so that men might hear her snores a furlong away.
  • Their daughter also snores.

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