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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 380 – 413 Summary

  • Aleyn grows weary in the gray dawn, for he has worked hard all night long.
  • He says, "Farewell, Malyne, sweet girl! The day is come, I may stay no longer. But after this, wherever I go or ride, I will always be your own clerk!"
  • "Now, dear lover," she replies, "Go, farewell! But before you go, I will tell you one thing. When you pass by the mill on your way home, you will find half a bushel's worth of meal-cake behind the entryway door. This was made out of your own meal, which I helped my father to steal from you."
  • "And, good lover, God save and keep you!" With that word, she began almost to weep.
  • Aleyn rises up and thinks, "Before the sun rises, I will creep into bed with my colleague."
  • He finds the cradle with his hand and thinks, "By God, I have almost gone to the wrong bed. My head is muddled by all the sex I've just had. That's what's causing me to go astray. By the cradle, though, I know that I've gone the wrong way. In this bed lie the miller and his wife."
  • He keeps walking, and comes to the bed where the miller is sleeping. He believes he's come to his colleague, John.
  • He gets under the covers with the miller, and whispers in his ear.
  • "John," he says to the miller, "wake up, you pig-head, and listen to a great joke. For by Saint James, I have screwed the miller's daughter three times in one night while you've been sleeping."

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