The Reeve’s Tale

In this article will discuss The Reeve’s Tale Summary in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Two Cambridge students, John and Aleyn, decide to visit the corn ground on the mill at Trumpington, near Cambridge run by Symkym who is dishonest and steal meal and corn.

He has a wife who comes from a noble family. They have a twenty years old daughter and six months, old son. At the beginning of the tale, the narrator describes their physical features too such as daughter having a pug nose and broad buttocks, and his father having a round face and bald head. 

The two students arrive at the mill with the determination of not letting the miller cheat them. They tell Symkym that they want to grind their corn and take that back with them. When they’re grinding the corn, the miller comes out to find the student’s horse and set it free.

After doing their work, they came out of the mill to find out that their horse has gone away. They get frustrated and begin to search for their horse in the way pointed by Miller’s wife.

Meanwhile, Miller takes their floor and asks his wife to make a loaf of bread out of it. After a whole day of the search, they find the horse at night in the ditch.

At the night, after their return, they requested the miller to help them. Miller allows them to stay for the night at his house. Miller set up their bed in the same chamber where he, his wife and daughter would sleep.

Around midnight when all them are finished eating dinner, they go to sleep. Miller, after drinking too much wine, goes to snoring much before anyone else. Miller and his wife sleep in one bed, placing baby’s cradle at their foot.

Aleyn keeps awake by the snoring and pokes John. He decides to have sex with Miller’s daughter in return of the corn he believes the miller has stolen. Aleyn doesn’t pay any heed to John’s warning and proceeds into the daughter’s bed. He succeeds in getting what he desired and keeps having it all night.

John gets jealous of Aleyn and decides to have sex too. He takes cradle from the miller’s bed and places it in his own foot. After some time, Miller’s wife wakes up for peeing and when she returns she gets into the bed of John mistaking that to be her own bed because of the location of the cradle. As she comes in the bed, John gets over her to give her the action she hasn’t got in ages. 

At the time of dawn, miller’s daughter tells Aleyn the location of the corn when he is leaving her bed. Mistaking bed by the cradle to be miller’s bed, he moves towards next bed and lays beside the miller and speaks in his ear, mistaking him for John, that he’s has been copulating with Miller’s daughter whole night.

Hearing this miller gets Aleyn by his Adam’s apple and punches him. The two men fight like animals one over the other till the moment miller falls over his wife, who wakes up thinking that some devil has attacked her and begins screaming.

John awakes and tries to find a stick but miller’s wife finds first and hits miller’s bad head. The two students get dressed and run away taking their corn and horse with them.