POINTS TO PONDER

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Anyone having read the Medieval work of Geoffrey Chaucer entitled “Canterbury Tales,” might still remember the tale told by the Miller.  A miller was one who ran the mill where the people brought their grain to be ground into flour. I have to admit, that while interesting, it was not quite as gripping as the writings of Zane Gray about Indian fighters, Jonathan and Wetzel, even though this Miller was quite a character.  He tells a story about a carpenter, and one line reads: “This carpenter wedded new a wife, which that he loved more than his life: Of eighteen year, I guess, she was of age.  Jealous he was, and held her in a narrow cage, for she was wild and young, and he was old and deemed himself a cuckold.” That means she may just go out and find a younger man who is more her type.

During Medieval times, they used the English word “soke” (pronounced “soak”), borrowed from the Latin “soc,” to define an early English law that permitted holding court and administering justice with the authority to receive certain fees or fines arising from its findings.  Thus, this word “soke” became synonymous with fines and penalties.  At the same time over at the mill, the Miller would withhold a certain amount of the grain in payment for the millwork that was done, and this also became known as his “soke.”  Therefore, when an individual would go to court and have to pay a fine, or the Miller extracted his portion of the grain for payment, the involved person would say, I’ve just been “soked.”

So, it is obvious that this old carpenter felt he might be soked for marrying a very young girl for the sake of having someone to look after his needs. Over time, because “soke” and “soak” are homophones, the meaning has changed while the concept remains the same.  Today, when someone refers to having been “soaked,” they imply that something deplorable happened to them – not that they were drenched with water.  So, the next time you do something that you later regret or feel that you took advantage of someone, remember that you too might be “soked” for doing so. But even God understands when we make foolish mistakes. So when we go to Him to ask for a pardon, we can say to Him, “Lord forgive me, I’ve just been soked. – Dr. Robert R. Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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