The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale
How we cite our quotes:
Thise clerkes beete hym weel and lete hym lye;
And greythen hem, and tooke hir hors anon,
And eek hire mele, and on hir weye they gon.
(454 – 456)
The savageness of the beating Symkyn takes is attested by the fact that he ends lying on the floor, probably unconscious. Since at the tale's beginning we learned that Symkyn was an expert wrestler and fighter and prone to be aggressive, we can assume either that John and Aleyn are good fighters as well, or that Symkyn was just outnumbered. Two upon one is not really a fair fight, is it?
Thus is the proude millere wel ybete,
And hath ylost the gryndynge of the whete,
And payed for the soper everideel
Of Aleyn and John, that bette hym wel.
(459 – 462)
The narrator's repetition of "wel ybete" and "bette hym wel" suggests that he takes pleasure and satisfaction in the beating. Here he describes it as "payment" for the supper of John and Aleyn, and not just recompense for the corn he has stolen.