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The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

Symkyn the Miller Timeline and Summary

  • The narrator introduces Symkyn as a proud miller who enjoys hunting, fishing, and fighting, and who cheats his customers.
  • The narrator introduces us to Symkyn's family: his wife, the town parson's illegitimate daughter, their daughter, Malyne, and a baby still in the cradle.
  • When John and Aleyn arrive at the mill and announce their intention to watch him grind their flour, Symkyn promises himself he will cheat them anyway.
  • Symkyn releases John and Aleyn's horse when they aren't looking, causing them to have to spend the whole day chasing it.
  • While John and Aleyn are busy catching their horse, Symkyn steals a bushel of flour from them and has his wife bake it into a cake.
  • Symkyn agrees to let John and Aleyn spend the night with him and his family when it becomes too late for them to return to Cambridge that day.
  • Symkyn prepares a bed for John and Aleyn in the family's shared sleeping quarters, then falls asleep, snoring loudly.
  • Symkyn wakes up to Aleyn whispering that he has just had sex with his daughter.
  • He rises in a rage, and attempts to beat Aleyn.
  • Symkyn's wife mistakes him for one of the clerks, and hits him over the head with a staff.
  • Symkyn is beaten unconscious by John and Aleyn.