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The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

Symkyn's Wife Timeline and Summary

  • At the beginning of the tale, the narrator introduces us to Symkyn's wife, telling us she is the illegitimate daughter of the town parson who nevertheless likes to claim a certain nobility for herself.
  • In the middle of the tale, Symkyn instructs his wife to bake a cake from the bushel of corn he has stolen from the clerks; she does so.
  • Symkyn's wife mistakes the clerks' bed for her own after John moves the cradle to it; she gets into bed with John by accident.
  • John has sex with Symkyn's wife all night long.
  • When she awakes to find the clerk's fighting on top of her, Symkyn's wife finds a staff with which to strike them.
  • Mistaking Symkyn's bald head for the white cap of a clerk, Symkyn's wife knocks her husband over the head with the staff by mistake.