The Reeve and His Tale

"The Reve was a sclendre colerik man"

The Reeve and His Tale

"The Reve was a sclendre colerik man.
His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn;
His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
Ylyk a staf: ther was no calf ysene.
Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn
The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn." (587-596)

In order to pay back the Miller for a tale in which a carpenter is tricked, the Reeve tells the tale of a dishonest, proud Miller.  The miller steals grain from two students, untying their horse so that they do not catch him in the act.  The students return with the horse and offer to pay for a night's lodging, since it is too late by then for them to depart.  That night, the students trick the miller, sleep with his wife and daughter, and escape without paying for their food or lodging.