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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 345 – 379 Summary

  • John lies still for a short time, feeling sorry for himself.
  • "Alas," he says, "this is a cruel joke; now I can see that I am the only fool here."
  • "My colleague is getting compensation for his grievance; he has the miller's daughter in his arms. He has taken a chance, and fulfilled his needs, while I lie like a sack of rubbish in my bed."
  • "And when this joke is told one day, I shall be considered an ass, a weakling!"
  • "I will arise and take a chance, too, by my faith!' Nothing ventured, nothing gained, or so men say.
  • And so John gets out of bed and creeps softly to the cradle, and carries it to the foot of his own bed.
  • Soon after this, the miller's wife stops her snoring, wakes up, and goes out to pee. She comes to her bed again, but can't find the cradle. She gropes here and there, but doesn't find it.
  • "Alas," she says, "I almost went awry. I almost went to the clerks' bed. Ay, bless me, then I would really have done it!"
  • And she moves around until she finds the cradle, groping always further with her hand.
  • She finds the bed, and thinks all is well because the cradle stands by it.
  • She does not know where she is, because it's so dark, but gets under the covers with the clerk.
  • She lies still, and tries to fall asleep.
  • Within a little while, John leaps up and lies on top of the miller's wife.
  • She has not had such a merry time in many years.
  • John thrusts hard and deep, as though he is mad.
  • These two clerks have a jolly time of it until the third cock begins to crow.

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