The Manciple & The Reeve Maggie Mohnkern and Karalyn Krull
The Reeve Prologue • The Reeve is very angry about this story because he feels like the tale was the entire carpentry profession, and because he was formerly a carpenter. • The Reeve decides that he must follow the miller's tale by making his a "bleryng of a proud milleres eye" or a fictional take down. • He tells his tale after the Miller. • The Miller's tale was about a carpenter that is humiliated by his wife and her lover.
The Reeve's Tale • A miller named Simpkin lives in the town of Cambridge. • He is Married and has a daughter named Malyne and a 6 month old son. • He is known for being a thief and stealing corn from his customers or filling their sacks of flour with less-expensive substances. • When the owner of the school gets sick, Simpkin takes the opportunity to cheat the school even more than usual. • 2 students are still at the school, Alain, who is a clerk and John. They ask their headmaster to see if they can bring the corn to the miller, so they can prevent him from stealing it.
Tale Cont. • Once the students arrive at the mill by horseback, they tell Simpkin that they are just there to learn and watch him. • But Simpkin is smarter than Alain and John, and figures out they are there to see him cheat the school. • In response to figuring this out, he unties their horses. • Once the Alain and John figure out that their horses are missing they have to spend the rest of the day out in the fields looking for them.
Simpkin's Plan • This gives the Miller the perfect amount of time to steal from the school, he gives the stolen flour to his wife to make a cake out of it. • After the boys get back from horse chasing they offer to pay him for a night to sleep there. • Simpkin challenges them to make his single bedroom into a grand house. After much rearranging, Simpkin and his wife sleep in one bed, John and Alan in another, and Malyne in the third. And Simpkin son's cradle sits at the foot of the miller's bed.
Tale Cont. • Both Alain and John decides to take this opportunity and rape the Miller's daughter and wife. • Alain rapes Malyne, the miller's daughter • He figures he's owed this because Simpkin cheated him out of the corn. • John does the same but with the miller's wife. • He moves the cradle at the foot of her bed to his so she will climb in with him by mistake. • In the morning when Alain tries to go back to his bed, the misplacement the cradle causes him to crawl into bed with Simpkin by accident. Thinking he's John, Alain boasts about having sex with Malyne all night. • After hearing this Simpkin gets out of bed and punches Alain in the nose.
Ending of the Tale After punching John Simpkin tumbles onto the bed where John and his wife are sleeping. • When his wife wakes up, she tries to help her husband by hitting the clerks with a staff. • But mistakes her husband's bald head for the white caps the clerks wear, and knocks him over the head instead. • Alain and John take the opportunity and beat Simpkin up. • After Alain and John beat him up and take the cake and run off.
Discussion Questions • Do you think that the Reeve's tale ended up being revenge on the Miller's story? • Do you think that Alain and John were justified in raping the miller's wife and daughter? • What are some themes of this tale that relate to those of previous tales?
The Manciple Prologue • The cook is really drunk and the manciple starts making fun of him. • The cook get mad but can't do anything thing about it since he is so drunk and then he falls off his horse. • The host says the cook is too drunk to tell a tale and should just try keeping himself out of the mud and on his horse. • The Host tells the manciple that it is bad to mock someone to their face and that the cook might get his revenge some day. • The manciple disagrees and gives the cook some wine and the cook is extremely thankful. • the Host comments that good drink turns rancor into love.
The manciple • Phoebus had a white crow that he kept in his house. It could imitate the speech of any man and it could sing very beautifully. • He loved his wife even more than his own life, but he gets very jealous and watches her very closely. If she is faithful, there is no need to do so, but if she is unfaithful no amount of monitoring will keep her faithful. • His wife actually was cheating on him with another man who didn't have a good reputation like Phoebus.
The manciple • One day when Phoebus was gone, his wife sent for her lover. • The crow saw them together but didn't say anything until Phoebus got home. • The crow said “Cokkow! Cokkow!” (Cuckold! Cuckold!). Phoebus thought the crow was singing a new song but then the crow clarified that his wife was cheating on him with a man of little reputation. • Phoebus murdered his wife and then destroyed his harp, lute, cithern and psaltry, and snapped his arrows and his bow. • He called the crow a traitor and accused the crow of lying to him. Then pulled out all of the crow’s white feathers, made him black and took away his song and his speech, and left him to the devil. That's why crows are black.