Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Early school days
 Our second meeting
 The third evening
 Our half-holiday
 Our fifth meeting
 Our last evening
 Back Cover

Title: Robin Hood and his merry foresters
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080134/00001
 Material Information
Title: Robin Hood and his merry foresters
Alternate Title: Robin Hood
Physical Description: 6, 154 p., 8 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cundall, Joseph, 1818-1895
Gilbert, John, 1817-1897 ( Illustrator )
Tilt and Bogue ( Publisher )
Clarke (Firm) ( Printer )
Day & Haghe ( Lithographer )
Publisher: Tilt and Bogue
Place of Publication: London (Fleet Street)
Manufacturer: Clarke, Printers
Publication Date: 1841
Subject: Robin Hood (Legendary character) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Outlaws -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sheriffs -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Archery -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Clergy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Sherwood Forest (England)   ( lcsh )
Folk tales -- 1841   ( rbgenr )
Hand-colored illustrations -- 1841   ( local )
Genre: Folk tales   ( rbgenr )
Hand-colored illustrations   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Summary: Robin Hood's adventures from his youth up until his death.
Statement of Responsibility: by Stephen Percy.
General Note: Lithographs: frontispiece, illustrated plates; lithographed by Day & Haghe after J. Gilbert.
General Note: Illustrations are hand-colored.
General Note: First edition; cf. Osborne, cited below.
General Note: Includes table of contents; list of illustrations.
General Note: Cf. Osborne Coll., p. 14.
General Note: Baldwin Library copy lacks illustrations opposite p. 46 (Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne) and 150 (The outlaws allegience) .
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080134
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002235906
notis - ALH6370
oclc - 04773472

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations
    Early school days
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 14a
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Our second meeting
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
    The third evening
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 72a
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 82a
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    Our half-holiday
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 110a
        Page 111
    Our fifth meeting
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
    Our last evening
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 138a
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

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Merry it is in the good green-wood,
When the mavis and merle are singing."








9t1ee Iptorie of my 38ogpiool.





MARY'S. .. 87






TALES of Robin Hood and his merry foresters were
the delight of my boyhood.
Many an hour which my school-fellows spent in
games of cricket or leap-frog, I passed happily away
ini the rustic-arbour that we had built in the corner
of our play-ground, deeply intent upon a volume
of old ballads that chance had thrown before me.
Sometimes a companion or two, weary of the sport in
which they had been engaged, would join me in my
retreat, and ask me to read aloud; and seldom would
they leave me till the school-bell warned us that it
was time to return to our duties.


After the tasks of the day were done we had two
hours at our disposal before we were again called
to study our lessons for the following morning. In
these short intervals it was that, forgetting for awhile
Caesar, Cicero, and Virgil, freed from restraint, and
exulting in health and spirits, we passed the happiest
moments of our early days.
Though many years have since glided away, I can
recall these pleasures most vividly. Well do I recol-
lect the youth who shared my bed, and who in school
hours sat next me on the first form; and well do I re-
member, as we sauntered together one bright summer's
evening through the shrubbery that encircled our play-
ground, his asking me to tell him some tale of Robin
Hood. Willingly I complied. There was an old syca-
more tree close by, standing alone upon a little lawn.
Its weather-beaten trunk was girt round by a low seat,
whence, through an opening in the trees, a wide extent
of country presented itself to the view. The shrub-
bery was upon the side of a steep hill, at whose base
lay broad and verdant meadows: through these a
navigable river winded peacefully along, bearing upon
its surface the white lateen sail of the gay pleasure-


boat, or the more dingy brown canvas of the heavily
laden barge, that constantly lent a fresh charm to the
delightful landscape. Beyond the meadows was a
little village, almost concealed by the venerable trees
that surrounded it, while, to the left, the white front
of some noble mansion glistened afar off, amid the
dark tint of the distant foliage. Many a time had I
chosen this favourite bench, and now, with my young
friend at my side, I again reclined against the broad
old trunk. Scarce had we seated ourselves when
another of our school-fellows happened to pass by,
and at the intercession of my companion stayed to
listen to my promised tale.
I endeavoured to recall the earliest mention of my
brave hero in the ballads that told of his exploits, and
thus began:-

"More than six hundred years ago, in the reigns of
King Henry the Second and Richard Coeur de Lion,
there lived in the northern part of England a most
famous outlaw, named Robin Hood. The daring
exploits and curious adventures of this renowned hero


have been celebrated in songs throughout almost every
country in Europe; and so great a favourite has he
always been in England, that, as the old poet says,

In this our spacious isle I think there is not one
But he of Robin Hood hath heard, and Little John;
And, to the end of time, the tales shall ne'er be done
Of Scarlet, George-a-Green, and Much, the miller's son;
Of Tuck, the merry friar, which many a sermon made
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade.'

Robin Hood, whose true name appears to have been
Robert Fitzooth, was born and bred in the sweet town
of Locksley, in merry Nottinghamshire, about the
year 1160. He was a very handsome youth, with
light auburn hair, and dark bright eyes that glanced
and sparkled like stars, and was the most expert archer
and bravest wrestler among all the lads of the county,
from whom he oft-times bore away the prize in their
rural sports. One day as Robin Hood was going to
Nottingham upon a visit to his uncle he passed by an
ale-house, at the door of which stood several foresters,
keepers of the king's parks, drinking ale and wine.
Young Robin joined the party, and, entered into con-
versation with them, when he learned that the king


had commanded a shooting match to be held at a
town close by in the course of the following week.
"' I will be there,' cried Robin Hood with great glee,
'and will show King Henry a good cloth-yard arrow
well shot.'
"'Ha! ha!' laughed one of the foresters. 'Dost
thou think that a stripling like thee may shoot before
a king? I' faith, my young fellow, thou must give
place to better men.
Robin Hood's brow flushed with anger at this slight,
and he half drew his dagger from its sheath, but
recollecting himself-' I'll wager thee twenty crowns,'
he replied, that I will strike a deer at five hundred
"'Done,' cried the forester. I bet thee twenty
crowns thou canst not. Our host shall hold the stakes
while we go into yonder wood.'
"' Agreed,' said Robin Hood; 'and if I do not kill
the deer thou shalt win the bet.' Each then paid
twenty crowns to the host, and the whole party set
out merrily to the wood. Young Robin strung his
noble bow, and chose one of his best arrows, and in a
few minutes a hart bounded across the plain. Although


the animal was at a considerable distance farther off
than the space agreed upon, Robin would not lose the
chance; he drew his arrow to the head, and let fly with
such force that when it struck the deer upon its side
the poor creature fell plunging to the earth in a stream
of its own blood.
"' Give me the money,' said Robin Hood proudly,
to the host, if 'twere a thousand pound, I've won
the wager.
"' The wager's none of thine,' cried the man with
whom he had laid the bet. 'Thou hadst better take
up thy bow and begone, or by'r lady I'll make thee
rue this day;' and thus saying he bestowed a buffet
on the young archer's head, while the other keepers
stood by and laughed.
Robin Hood took up his bow as he was bidden,
without saying a word, and smiled as he ran away
from them across the plain. When he had got some
good distance off, he turned round, and aiming at
the treacherous forester, let fly a shaft which struck
him upon the breast, pierced his heart, and laid him
dead upon the spot. Before his companions had re-
covered from their surprise, Robin Hood sent arrow


after arrow among them, wounding some severely,
and stretching others lifeless upon the grass.
"The people of Nottingham hearing of this, came
out in great numbers to take the bold young archer,
but he had escaped far away before they arrived;
therefore, contenting themselves with taking the bodies
of the dead foresters, they buried them all in a row,'
in the churchyard in Nottingham.
For a long time afterwards Robin Hood dared not
show himself in any town or village, as a reward
was offered for his apprehension; but he lived in the
forests under the green-wood trees, where he quickly
met with several other youths who for various causes
had been outlawed like himself.
In these times immense tracts of land, especially
in Nottinghamshire. and Yorkshire, were covered with
dense woods, which generally abounded in deer and
every description of game; and as these were the pro-
perty of the king, rangers or foresters were appointed
for their protection, and the penalty against any one
who dared to slay a stag was death.
"Robin Hood and his companions cared very little
for these rangers, who indeed stood but a poor chance


against them. They shot the king's deer whenever
they were in want of food, and cooked it well enough
by a fire kindled with branches of the royal trees.
"They likewise were sometimes bold enough to stop
his majesty's liege subjects upon the highway, and
politely request the loan of a few pounds, which was
most frequently granted them without their giving
any security for its repayment, the poor traveller being
glad to escape with a safe body.
As the young outlaw thus continued to live in
Sherwood forest, his superior skill in archery and
his prowess at all manly exercises gained him great
fame. Many young men joined him in his retreat,
and placed themselves under his leadership, so that
he soon found himself captain of at least three-score
gallant youths.
Robin Hood and his followers all dressed them-
selves in cloth of Lincoln green, and generally wore
a scarlet cap upon their heads. Each man was armed
S with a dagger and a short basket-hilted sword, and
carried a long bow in his hand, while a quiver filled
with arrows a cloth-yard long hung at his back.
The captain, besides wearing a better cloth than his


men, always carried with him a bugle horn, whose
notes he taught his followers to distinguish at a most
incredible distance.
One day Robin Hood said to his men, My brave
fellows, here have we been fourteen long days without
any kind of sport. Stay ye here awhile among the
green leaves, while I go forth in search of some ad-
venture. If I want your assistance three blasts on my
bugle horn will tell ye where I am.' And bidding
them adieu for the present, he shook hands with them,
and with his trusty bow in his hand set out on his
expedition. He soon reached the high road, where he
thought he should most easily meet with something
to do, and marched along boldly for a considerable
way. Presently he came to a wide but shallow brook
that ran across the road, over which there was but
one narrow bridge, that would only permit a single per-
son to cross at a time. Just as Robin Hood set his
foot upon the plank at one end a traveller appeared
upon the other side, and as neither would return they
met in the middle of the bridge. The stranger was
a tall handsome young fellow nearly seven feet high,
but unarmed, except with a stout oaken staff.


Go back,' cried he to Robin Hood, or 'twill be
the worse for thee.'
"' Ha! ha!' laughed Robin, surely thou jestest,
man. Were I to bend this good bow of mine I could
send an arrow through thy heart before thou could'st
even strike;' and stepping back a pace or two he
drew a shaft from his quiver and fixed it ready to
Thou talk'st like a coward,' replied the stranger;
'with a long bow drawn against one who has but
an oaken staff.'
I am no. coward,' answered Robin Hood, and
that thou shalt see. Stay on the bridge awhile.
I'll be with thee again in the twinkling of an arrow.'
And laying aside his bow he ran back along the
plank, plunged into a thicket close at hand, and
quickly returned bearing a good oak branch.
"'Now,' cried he to the traveller, 'now we are
equally matched; let's fight out our quarrel on the
bridge; whoever throws the other into the water shall
win the day, and so we'll part.'
"' With all my heart,' replied the stranger, for
go back I will not;' and without a word farther he


bestowed such a thwack on the head of Robin Hood
that his teeth chattered together.
Thou shalt have as good as thou giv'st,' cried
Robin, and laid such a blow on the shoulder of his
opponent that every bone in his body rung again.
At it they then went in right earnest, and thick and
fast rattled the staves upon their heads and backs,
appearing like men threshing -corn. Getting more
enraged at every stroke, they laid about each other
with so much fury that their jackets smoked as if
they had been on fire; but at last the stranger gave
Robin Hood a blow upon the side of his head that
made him stagger, and losing his balance the outlaw
tumbled into the brook.
'Where art thou now, my fine fellow '' cried the
victorious stranger, laughing.
"' Good faith,' replied Robin Hood, I'm in the
water, and floating bravely with the tide. But thou art
a bold yeoman I needs must say, and I'll fight no
more with thee. Thou hast got the day and there's
an end of our battle.' Then wading to the bank he
caught hold of a projecting branch of a tree, pulled
himself out of the brook, and setting his bugle to his


lips blew three such loud and lusty blasts that the
woods and valleys echoed and re-echoed them, till they
reached the ears of his merry bowmen. In a few
minutes they all appeared dressed in their bright green
coats, and ranged themselves round Robin Hood, who
was lying on the grass to rest his bruised limbs.
"' Good master,' cried one of them, named Will
Stutely, what wantest thou with thy merry men"?
Hast thou fallen into the brook ?'
No matter,' replied their captain; 'this youth
and I have had a famous fight, and he knocked me
into the water.'
"' We'll duck him, we'll duck him,' exclaimed the
men, running up to the stranger, and seizing him by
the arms.
"' Forbear!' shouted Robin Hood. 'He is a
brave young fellow, and must be one of us.' Then,
springing to his feet, he advanced towards him.
' No one shall harm thee, friend,' he said; these
merry men are mine. There are three-score and
nine, and if thou wilt join them thou shalt have a
coat of Lincoln green like theirs, a dagger, a good


broadsword, and a bow and arrows, with which we
will soon teach thee to kill the fat fallow-deer.'
Here's my hand on it,' replied the stranger,
striking his palm into that of the bold outlaw; I'll
serve thee with my whole heart. My name is John
Little, but thou'lt find I can do much, and that I'll
play my part with the best.'
"' His name must be altered,' said Will Stutely.
'I'll be his godfather, and we'll have a merry christen-
ing in the green-wood.'
"A brace of fat does were presently shot, and a fresh
barrel of humming strong ale was broached for the
occasion. Robin Hood and his followers then stood in
a ring, while Will Stutely, attended by seven of the
tallest, dressed themselves in black garments that had
once belonged to some unfortunate priests, and prepared
to baptize this pretty infant. They carried him into
the midst of the ring, and throwing a bucket of water
over his face, for fear a little sprinkling might not be
enough, Will Stutely in a very solemn tone said,
'This infant has hitherto been called John Little;
we do now hereby change his name, which from the


present day to the end of his life shall be called Little
"A loud shout from the men made the forest ring
again. When this ceremony was concluded, and when
Robin Hood had given his new attendant a coat of
Lincoln green, and a curiously carved long-bow, they
all sat down on the grass to a merry feast. Music
succeeded, and their bold captain, in honour of his
new guest, trolled forth the following song: -

'You're welcome, my lad, to the forests o' green,
Where the wild deer so merrily bounds;
Where the foresters bold their gay revels hold,
And their bugle-horn cheerily sounds.
'Thou shalt be an archer, as well as the best,
And range in the green-wood with us;
Where we'll not want gold nor silver, behold,
While bishops have aught in their purse.
We live here like 'squires, or lords of renown,
Without e'er a foot of free land;
We feast on good cheer, with wine, ale, and beer,
And ev'ry thing at our command.
Then welcome, my lad, to the merry green-wood,
Where the wild deer so joyously bounds;
Where the foresters bold their gay revels hold,
And their bugle-horn cheerily sounds.'




Merrily and gaily did they pass the evening; now
dancing round some old monarch of the forest, and
now listening to the rude but pleasing ditty of one
of their companions. At length the sun went down,
and the deep shades of the forest began to draw around
them. Robin Hood drew forth his bugle, sounded a
few notes, and in a minute or two the whole band were
dispersed in groups to their huts and caves.

Shortly after this merry-making Robin Hood was
one morning sitting by the way-side, amusing himself
with trimming his bow and arrows, when he espied a
jolly butcher hastening to market with a basket of
meat before him upon his horse.
"' Good morrow, my fine fellow,' quoth Robin Hood
as he passed by. 'What may'st thou have in that
basket there '
"' What's that to thee,' replied the butcher : thou'lt
not buy it I'll warrant me.'
"' Nay, now, my good friend, be civil,' returned
the outlaw, rising from the grass, and patting the
man's horse upon the neck. 'What value settest


thou upon this beast of thine, and the basket, alto-
gether ? '
"'Well! an thou mean'st to buy,' answered the
butcher, still doubting, 'thou shalt have the whole
lot for four silver marks.'
"' Throw that greasy frock of thine into the bargain,'
said Robin, 'and here's thy money:' at the same
time he took some silver pieces from a leather pouch
that hung from his girdle, and held them to the
butcher. With great joy at having made so good a
bargain, the man instantly dismounted, and giving his
horse's reins to his new owner, he quickly stripped off
his outer garment. The bold outlaw as quickly encased
himself in it, and, mounting the horse, took the basket
from the butcher, and galloped off to Nottingham.
"When he reached the town, Robin Hood made his
way to the part where the meat was sold; and having
put up his horse at an inn, he uncovered his basket,
and began to sell its contents. He knew very little
and cared very little about the price that was usually
paid for meat, and the ladies in the market quickly
discovered that he gave about five times' as much for a
penny as any other butcher. His stall was soon sur-


rounded, and his brethren in the trade were left with-
out a customer. At first they could not imagine what
could be the reason of so strange an occurrence; but
when one of them learned that the new butcher had
actually sold a whole leg of pork for a shilling, a
general council was held, and it was unanimously
agreed that he must either be mad, or some prodigal
son who had run away with his father's property: but
they were all determined to learn something certain
about him.
"When the market was over, one of them stepped
up to Robin Hood. Come, brother,' said he to him,
'we are all of one trade, come and dine with us
"' Right willingly that will I,' replied the outlaw;
'and a jolly dinner will we have. 'Tis my first day
among ye, and by my faith it shall be a merry one.'
They were soon seated at the board, at the head of
which presided the sheriff of Nottingham, while 'mine
host' sat at the other end. Robin Hood, being a new
comer, said grace, and they commenced a most fearful
attack upon divers smoking flanks of beef, and many
a goodly haunch of venison. The jovial outlaw did his


duty with the rest, and when at last the dishes were
allowed to be taken away, Fill us more wine,'
he cried, let's be merry, my brethren; drink till ye
can drink no more; I'll pay the reckoning.'
This is a mad blade,' said the sheriff to his next
neighbour; 'we must find out who he is.' -'Hast
thou, friend,' he continued aloud, addressing Robin
Hood, 'hast thou any horned beasts to dispose of?'
Aye, good master sheriff, that have I,' answered
Robin, some two or three hundreds, and a hundred
acres of as good free land too as thou'st ever seen.'
I want a few head of cattle,' rejoined the former,
'and if thou wilt, I'll ride this day to look at thine.'
Fill me a bumper of sack,' cried Robin Hood;
'here's to a good bargain ;' and tossing off a goblet
of wine, he rose up, threw a handful of silver upon
the table, and with the sheriff left the astonished
butchers to finish their wine and talk of their extra-
ordinary comrade.
The man of dignity saddled his palfrey, and
tying a heavy bag of gold, wherewith to pay for his
purchase, to his girdle, set out with Robin Hood to
Sherwood forest. Merry were the jokes and loud was


the laughter of the bold outlaw as they trotted along
the road, and the sheriff thought that he had never
met with so pleasant a companion. Heaven pre-
serve us,' said he, from a man they call Robin Hood,
who often frequents these woods.'
Fear not, master sheriff,' replied Robin; I saw
him in Nottingham town not two hours ago, and I'll
warrant me he has not overtaken us.'
In Nottingham !' cried the sheriff, with astonish-
ment: why didst not thou tell me that before ? I
must go back and capture him.'
'Twill be a profitless errand for thee,' answered
the outlaw. Though I know Robin Hood as well as
my own self, 'twas with difficulty I recognized him in
his disguise.' The sheriff looked hard at his com-
panion, as he claimed so intimate a knowledge with
the outlawed forester, but said not a word, only spur-
ring his horse on faster, and keeping as far from
his fellow-traveller as the width of the road per-
Presently they arrived at the borders of the forest,
and striking into a narrow road that led through
it, reached an open lawn of some considerable ex-


tent. Just as they entered upon it, a whole herd of
deer tripped gaily across the path.
'How likest thou my horned beasts, master
sheriff asked Robin Hood; 'they are fat and in
good condition, are they not ?'
I must tell thee, good fellow,' returned the sheriff,
reining up his palfrey, that I would rather be else-
where than in thy company.'
Robin Hood replied by taking his bugle-horn from
his side, and blowing three distinct blasts that made
the woods re-echo, and his companion's ears to tingle
with no small degree of apprehension.
Thou art a knave,' cried he, 'and hast played me
false; take that for payment: and the terrified sheriff
drew his sword and struck fiercely at the outlaw,
who, spurring his steed aside, dexterously avoided the
blow. In a moment after, sixty or more foresters,
with Little John at their head, burst from the thickets
and surrounded the two horsemen.
Welcome, good master;' said Little John to his
captain. What will'st thou with thy merry men ? '
I have brought the sheriff of Nottingham to dine


with ye to-day,' replied Robin Hood; 'make good
cheer, and give him of the best.'
"' Aye, marry, that will we,' returned the tall fo-
rester, for I know he has gold to pay for it:' and
gently obliging the sheriff to dismount, he unfastened
the bag from the unfortunate man's girdle, and taking
his cloak from his shoulders, he spread it upon the
grass, and emptied the gold upon it.
Three hundred pounds will serve us for many a
carouse,' said Little John, when he had counted the
money and replaced it in the bag. And now, master
sheriff,' he continued, laughing, would'st thou like
venison for thy dinner I Hast thou any stomach for a
smoking haunch '
"' Let me away,' cried the sheriff, running to his
horse's side, or you'll all rue this day.'
Robin Hood sprang to his assistance, held the stirrup
while he mounted, and politely wishing him a plea-
sant journey home, desired to be especially commended
to his wife. The poor sheriff, glad to escape sound in
body, returned no answer; but striking spurs into
his palfrey was soon out of sight. The merry foresters


quickly repaired to their wonted spot, and with many
a bumper of ale or wine, drank to the health and
prosperity of the liberal sheriff of Nottingham.

The bold outlaws were afraid to show themselves
for some time after this adventure, and for several
weeks retired to a distant forest, where their haunts
were not so well known as in Sherwood.
Robin Hood was one morning rambling among the
woods, when, through the branches of the trees, he
caught sight of a gay young fellow walking carelessly
along and whistling merrily. The stranger was
clothed in a silken doublet of beautiful scarlet, his hose
were likewise of the same bright colour, and his gay
green cap was ornamented with a crimson feather. By
his side hung a handsome broadsword, the hilt of
which was studded with precious stones, and in his
left hand he carried an elegantly carved bow; while a
quiver of polished oak, inlaid with silver, was sus-
pended by a silken baldric at his back.
"As he emerged from the thicket upon a little plain,
on which the noon-day sun was permitted to shine


unobscured by the deep foliage that on all sides sur-
rounded him, the traveller's heart leapt with joy at
the sight of a herd of deer grazing quietly at the
other end of the verdant glade.
'The fattest among ye,' quoth he, loud enough
for the outlaw to over-hear him, 'shall serve my
dinner to-day:' and drawing an arrow from his quiver,
he fixed it upon his bow, and discharged the weapon
with such keen velocity that the noblest animal among
the herd fell dead at the distance of forty yards.
'Well shot! well shot, my friend!' cried Robin
Hood, advancing from his concealment. 'Would'st
like to be a forester in this merry green-wood '
"'Where springest thou from said the stranger,
turning round sharply at the sound of a voice. Go
thou thine own way; I'll go mine.'
If thou'lt accept the place,' returned the outlaw,
unheeding this angry reply, I'll make thee a bold
yeoman, and give thee livery of mine.'
"' Livery!' cried the other. By St. George, an
thou dost not take to thine heels, I'll give thee such a
buffet as shall make thine ears ring for many a mile.'
Robin Hood drew back a step, and bent his ever-


ready bow, and at the same time the stranger, quick
as thought, drew another arrow from his quiver, and
pointed it at the outlaw.
"' Hold hold !' cried the latter. 'This is cowards'
play. Take thy sword, man, and let's fight it out under
yonder tree.'
"' With all my heart,' replied the traveller; 'and
by my faith I will not leave thee till thou dost cry "'a
mercy."' Then laying aside their bows, each drew
his sword, and stepping beneath the shade of a broad
old oak, began the combat in right good earnest. The
bold outlaw, seizing an unguarded moment, laid a
blow upon the shoulder of his opponent that made him
wince again; but, in retaliation, the stranger rushed
furiously at Robin Hood, and struck him so violently
upon the head that the blood ran trickling down from
every hair.
"'Mercy, good fellow- mercy,' he cried, dropping
his sword's point to the earth, and leaning himself
against the tree; thou hast fairly beaten me. Tell
me,- who art thou ? and what seek'st ,thou here '
'Ha! thou alterest thy tone now,' answered the
victor with a laugh; but, if thou'rt a true man, thou


may'st stand my friend. Know'st thou where dwells a
yeoman they call Robin Hood ? '
"' Wherefore dost thou seek him ?' inquired the out-
I am his sister's son,' replied the youth. I had
the misfortune to slay my father's steward in a quarrel,
and am forced to flee from home.'
"' Thy name ? asked Robin Hood anxiously.
"' Is Will Gamwell, of the town of Maxwell,'
replied the stranger.
"'My brave boy, I am thine uncle,' exclaimed the
outlaw, clasping him in his arms with delight; 'thou
should'st have said this before we shed each other's
"'Forgive me--forgive me,'- cried the youth,
bending on his knee; 'and I'll serve thee day and
"' Give me thy hand,' replied Robin; thou art a
bold fellow, a true marksman, and a right valiant swords-
man, as I know to my cost. Let us go seek my merry
men.' And with many a pleasant discourse the newly-
found relations beguiled their path to the haunt of the
outlaws. As they approached the spot, Robin Hood


drew his bugle from his girdle, and sounded a few
short notes. Before the music had ceased Little John
stood at his side.
"'Is danger at hand, good master he said.
'Where hast thou tarried so long ? Whence this
blood '
"' I met with this youth,' replied Robin Hood, and
full sore has he beaten me.'
"' Then I'll have a bout with him,' cried the tall
forester, and see if he will beat me too;' and with a
staff in his hand he stepped before the stranger.
"' Nay nay,' said his captain, interfering, 'that
must not be; he is my own dear sister's son, and next
to thee shall be my chief yeoman.'
"' 'Welcome, my friend, to merry Sherwood,' ex-
claimed Little John, shaking the new comer by the
hand. We'll have a rare feast for thee to-night.
But by what name shall we call thee among our jovial
comrades '
"'His name is Gamwell,' replied Robin Hood;
'but we had better re-christen him as we did thee; he
has forsooth a fine scarlet doublet, and Will Scarlet


shall be his name.' Then again taking his bugle, he
set it to his lips, and winded it till
"'The warbling echoes wak'd from every dale and hill.'

More than a hundred tall yeomen, clad in Lincoln
green, soon attended this summons, bounding among
the trees like so many playful deer.
Will Scarlet, frightened at the sight of so many
men, all armed with bows, cried to his uncle to fly from
them, and was himself starting off at his full speed,
when Robin Hood caught him by the arm, and laugh-
ing heartily at his terror, bade him behold his future
What want'st thou, good master'?' said Will
Stutely, the leader of the band. Thy bugle sounded
so shrill we thought there had been work for us.'
"' The danger's over now,' replied Robin Hood;
'but welcome your new comrade; he is my own sister's
son, and has proved himself a gallant youth, for he
has given me a famous beating.'
S" The foresters set up a simultaneous shout, and
each advancing in his turn took the hand of the


delighted youth. The rest of the day was spent in
feasting and sporting, till the departing rays of the
sun warned them to their caves and bowers."
Just as I had thus concluded, and my young
companions were making their various remarks upon
the merry life of the bold outlaws, the deep tone of
our school-bell rang in our ears. Off we started,
like a herd of deer frightened at the notes of Robin
Hood's bugle-horn.


ON the next evening, when I took my seat beneath
the sycamore, I found that it was surrounded by no
less than six of my school-fellows; so popular had
been the legends of Robin Hood with my hearers of
the previous day. I was mightily pleased at this, and
with renewed confidence began the following tale: -
Shortly after the accession of Will Scarlet to his
company, Robin Hood was one morning roaming
through the forest, when he beheld a young man, very
elegantly dressed in crimson silk, skipping merrily
over the green plain, singing a roundelay; his face was
lighted up with gladness, and his heart seemed over-
flowing with joy.
On the very next morning Robin Hood again


encountered the same youth. All his finery was gone.
He wore a russet suit, and his countenance was over-
spread with melancholy. He walked slowly, absorbed
in meditation, and now and then broke out into ex-
clamations of the keenest grief. The outlaw's heart
was moved. What can have caused this sudden
change,' he said to himself: 'perhaps I may relieve
his sorrows;' and emerging from the grove he stood
before the young man's path.
"'What ailest thou my friend ? he said to him;
but yesterday thou wert as gay as a lark, and to-day
as thou wert at a funeral.'
"'Why dost thou ask?' said the youth: 'thou canst
not help me in my distress.'
"' I have a hundred as good yeomen as ever drew
bow in the green-wood,' replied the outlaw, that will
do my bidding as I list.'
"' Lend me thine aid,' cried the young man eagerly,
and I'll be thy true servant for ever. My name is
Allen-a-Dale. But yesterday I was to have wedded
the fairest maiden upon whom the sun ever shone.
To-day she is taken from me, and will be forced to
marry a rich old knight whom she detests.'


"' Where is the wedding to take place,' inquired
Robin Hood.
"' At the little church in the vale twixtt here and
Nottingham,' replied the lover; 'tis not five miles
"' We will try what's to be done,' rejoined Robin.
' Come with me, and by my faith it shall go hard but
thou gettest thy fair maiden yet; and taking the now
hopeful youth by the hand, the outlaw led him away.
Great preparations were made for the approaching
wedding in the village church that Allen-a-Dale had
mentioned. The lord bishop of the diocese was there,
dressed in his gorgeous robes; and the cottagers,
decked out in their holiday costume, were waiting
anxiously to witness so grand a marriage. An old man
with a long flowing beard likewise demanded and
received admission into the interior of the sacred
edifice. He wore a sombre-coloured mantle that en-
tirely covered him, and carried, slung by a belt across
his shoulders, a harp, which, as he seated himself
near the altar, he placed at his feet, ready to strike on
the appearance of the bridal party. Presently the
grave old knight entered the church, leading the


beautiful damsel by the hand. Young girls, dressed
in white, scattered roses in their path as they advanced,
and the harper sounded his noble instrument. The
poor maiden seemed totally unconscious of all that
passed. She walked slowly, with her head bent
to the earth; and tears burst from her eyes, and
coursed each other down her lovely cheeks : but the
old knight was unmoved, and hurried her to the
altar. The bishop opened his book and began the
"' I forbid this match,' exclaimed a voice that
seemed to proceed from where the harper sat.
The reverend father, surprised at so unusual an
interruption, stopped, and looked around: -' Stand
forth, whoever thou art, and state thy reasons,' said
he, after a long pause.
"' This old knight is not the damsel's free choice,'
cried the old man, rising from his seat, and I forbid
the marriage.' At the same moment pulling away his
false beard, and casting aside his cloak, ROBIN HOOD
drew a bugle-horn from his baldric, and stunned
the ears of bishop, knight, and maiden, with the
loudness of his blast. At the summons four and


twenty yeomen darted out of a grove that was close at
hand, bounded like wild deer over the plain, and
quickly entered the church. The first man among them
was Allen-a-Dale. He ran to Robin Hood, and gave him
his trusty bow; then, rushing to the altar, he hurled
the old knight aside, and clasping the lovely maiden
in his arms, bore her to the outlaw.
"'Now, my good lord bishop,' said Robin Hood,
'thou may'st marry this fair lady to her own true love.'
"'That cannot be,' returned the bishop, closing
his book with a loud clap; 'the law requireth that
the banns be published three times in the church.'
"' We will soon remedy that,' cried Little John,
stepping forward from among the bowmen. Lend
me thy gown awhile, good master bishop, and I will
do that office;' and as he spake, he entered the
enclosed space by the altar, and stood by the side of
the reverend father, who, with a very ill will, suffered
his robe to be taken from his person.
The foresters and villagers, one and all, could not
restrain their mirth when the tall yeoman put the
garment upon himself, and took up the bishop's volume.
For fear that thrice might not be enough, he pub-


lished the banns seven times, while Allen-a-Dale and
his betrothed took their places at the altar steps.
"' Who gives away this maid asked Little John
when he had finished that part of his duty.
"'That do I,' answered Robin Hood, who stood-at
the damsel's side. 'Where's the man who dares
dispute my gift and clapping the bridegroom upon
his shoulders-' Cheer ye, my gallant friend,' he cried;
' by my troth thou hast boldly won the fairest maiden
in Christendom.'
"Neither the old knight nor the bishop interposed,
but while Little John proceeded with the ceremony
they both left the church. As soon as all was con-
cluded, the young girls again strewed flowers in the
path of the now joyous bride, the bells struck up a
merry peal, and the villagers and foresters, rushing out
of the church, greeted the happy pair with loud shouts
of joy. Robin Hood and his men escorted them home,
and having drunk to the welfare and happiness of
young Allen-a-Dale and his fair lady, they again
returned to their green-wood shades.

"There were many days in which the outlaws of
Sherwood scarcely knew how to pass away their time.
They often grew tired of their easy and careless life,
and longed for an adventure where more active exertions
would be required. Robin Hood, especially, could
ill brook the monotony of a forester's life. He was
ever bent upon some enterprise, either by himself
alone, or with the assistance of his followers; and
rarely a week passed but that the bold captain threw
a good store of gold into his treasury. One day he
disguised himself in the dress of a friar. A long dark-
coloured gown completely covered his green doublet,
and a large cowl over his head nearly concealed his
features. His waist was girt round with a white
woollen rope, from which were suspended a string of
beads and an ivory crucifix. Thus attired, with a staff
in his hand, he took the high road, and trudged on
merrily. The first persons he met were, an honest
husbandman, clad in tattered garments, carrying a
chubby boy in his arms, and his wife, with an infant,
following mournfully in his steps. Robin Hood stopped


them, inquired the cause of their grief, and learned
that their cottage had been burned down by a party of
marauders, and that they were then on their way to
Nottingham, where the poor man hoped to obtain
"The seeming priest, moved with compassion at
their forlorn state, drew forth a broad piece of gold
and gave it to the wanderers, who ever after blessed
the day they met the generous friar.
Robin Hood walked on nearly a mile farther
without meeting a single traveller, when at last he
espied two monks in black gowns coming towards
him, riding upon mules.
"'Benedicite,' said Robin Hood meekly, as they
drew near him; I pray ye, holy brethren, have pity
upon a poor wandering friar, who has neither broken
bread nor drunk of the cup this day.'
We are grieved, good brother,' replied one of the
monks, 'we have not so much as a penny. Robbers
met us on the way, who have stripped us of all our
"' I fear thou tellest not the truth,' returned the
friar. Wherefore did they leave ye those beasts ? '


"'Now by'r lady,' cried the second monk, thou
art an insolent fellow,' and pushing on their mules
he and his companion galloped off. The outlaw
laughed at their precipitate decampment, then starting
off at his best speed, he soon overtook them. Brethren,'
he cried, as one after the other he pulled them from
their saddles, since we have no money, let us pray
to our dear lady to send us some;' and falling on his
knees he made the monks kneel down beside him.
The old ballad says
The priests did pray, with mournful cheer,
Sometimes their hands did wring,
Sometimes they wept and cried aloud,
Whilst Robin did merrily sing.'

"After some time thus spent, the outlaw rose. Now,
my brethren,' quoth he, let us see what money has
been sent us -we will all share alike;' and putting
his hand in his pocket he pulled forth twenty pieces
of gold, and laid them on the grass. The monks
fumbled a long time amid their garments, but could
find nothing.
Let me search,' cried the friar; perchance ye
have not hit upon the right pocket.' The monks


reluctantly consented, and presently the outlaw drew
forth two purses, and counted out five hundred golden

"' Here is a brave show,' said Robin Hood,
Such store of gold to see;
And ye shall each of ye have a part
'Cause you prayed so heartily.'

"He then gave them back each fifty pieces, which
the monks eagerly seized, and running to the side
of their mules they were about to ride off. 'Stay,'
cried the outlaw; 'two things ye must swear: first-
that ye will never tell lies again; and secondly -that
ye will be charitable to the poor.' The priests fell on
their knees and gave the required promise to Robin
Hood, and then

"' He set them on their beasts again,
And away then they did ride;
And he returned to the merry green-wood
With great joy, mirth, and pride.' "

"Can you remember the whole of any ballad "
asked one of my hearers. "If you could I should
like very much to hear it."


"And so should I."- And I."- "And I."- cried
two or three other voices.
"I fear there will be some parts that you will
scarcely understand," I replied; "but as you wish it,
you shall hear of


"When Phcebus had melted the sickles' of ice,
And likewise the mountains of snow,
Bold Robin Hood he would ramble away,
To frolic abroad with his bow.

He left all his merry men waiting behind,
Whilst through the green valleys he pass'd,
Where he did behold a forester bold,
Who cry'd out, Friend, whither so fast?'

"" I am going,' quoth Robin, to kill a fat buck,
For me and my merry men all;
Besides, ere I go, I'll have a fat doe,
Or else it shall cost me a fall.'

You'd best have a care,' said the forester then,
'For these are his majesty's deer;
Before you shall shoot, the thing I'll dispute,
For I am head forester here.'


"'These thirteen long summers,' quoth Robin, I'm sure,
My arrows I here have let fly;
Where freely I range, methinks it is strange
You should have more power than I.

"'This forest,' quoth Robin, I think is my own,
And so are the nimble deer too;
Therefore I declare, and solemnly swear,
I'll not be affironted by you.'

"The forester he had a long quarter staff,
Likewise a broadsword by his side;
Without more ado, he presently drew,
Declaring the truth should be tried.

"Bold Robin Hood had a sword of the best,
Thus, ere he could take any wrong,
His courage was flush, he'd venture a brush,
And thus they fell to it ding dong.

"The very first blow that the forester gave,
He made his broad weapon cry twang;
'Twas over the head, he fell down for dead,
O that was a terrible bang!

"But Robin he soon recovered himself,
And bravely fell to it again;
The very next stroke their weapons they broke,
Yet never a man there was slain.

"At quarter staff then they resolved to play,
Because they would have the other bout;


And brave Robin Hood right valiantly stood;
Unwilling he was to give out.

"Bold Robin he gave him very hard blows,
The other returned them as fast;
At every stroke their jackets did smoke;
Three hours the combat did last.

"At length in a rage the forester grew,
And cudgel'd bold Robin so sore
That he could not stand, so shaking his hand,
He cry'd, Let us freely give o'er.

'Thou art a brave fellow, I needs must confess
I never knew any so good;
Thou art fitting to be a yeoman for me,
And range in the merry green-wood.'

"Robin Hood set his bugle horn to his mouth,
A blast then he merrily blows;
His yeomen did hear, and straight did appear
A hundred with trusty long bows.

"Now Little John came at the head of them all,
Cloth'd in a rich mantle of green;
And likewise the rest were gloriously drest,
A delicate sight to be seen !

"'Lo! these are my yeomen,' said bold Robin Hood,
'And thou shalt be one of the train,
A mantle and bow, and quiver also,
I give them whom I entertain.'


The forester willingly entered the list,
They were such a beautiful sight;
Then with a long bow they shot a fat doe,
And made a rich supper that night,

"What singing and dancing was in the green-wood,
For joy of another new mate !
With might and delight they spent all the night,
And liv'd at a plentiful rate.

Quoth he, My brave yeomen, be true to your trust,
And then we may range the woods wide.'
They all did declare, and solemnly swear,
They would conquer, or die by his side."

This ballad was highly approved of; and when,
as usual, a few remarks had been made upon the
valour of the champions, I resumed my tales, and
told of

"How delightful are the woods upon a summer's
morn. The bright foliage of the trees now shines in
its deepest verdure; the lawns and glades are clothed
with luxuriant grass and sweet wild flowers, upon
which the dew-drops glisten in the rising sun. The
merry birds sitting upon the tender branches pour


forth their morning lays; and yon lark, now soaring
high towards the blue expanse of heaven, makes hill
and dale re-echo with her melodious carol; all tell-
ing of the goodness of their Creator, and praising him
for his wondrous works. Thus thought Robin Hood as,
on a bright morning in the pleasant month of June,
he wandered amid the trees of Barnesdale. He had
been awakened earlier than usual from his slumbers
by the loud and incessant singing of a golden thrush:
he arose, and rambled forth, enjoying the freshness of
the morning breeze, and the sweet music that was
borne upon it. Many a hart darted across his path,
and many a young fawn skipped playfully at his side,
and then bounded into the recesses of the forest. At
another time the outlaw's keen arrow would have
followed them, but now he smiled at their merry
gambols, and charmed with the loveliness of the scene,
he rested upon his bow, and contemplated with heart-
felt pleasure the tranquil beauty of the morn. He
continued thus, absorbed in meditation, when suddenly
a distant sound broke upon the stillness of the air.
"The outlaw listened for a moment. 'Tis the
tramp of horses,' he whispered to himself; and stepping


to a tree, quick as thought he climbed amid its branches.
Thence he could plainly distinguish the glitter of spear-
heads and bright helmets, and scarce had he secured
himself from observation, when several horsemen,
followed by a troop of soldiers, passed within a few
yards of his hiding-place. In the leader, Robin Hood
at once recognized his old.friend, the sheriff of Notting-
ham, who he had no doubt was now come with his
men to seek for the traitorous butcher of Sherwood.
It was not till some time after this little band had
gone by that the outlaw ventured to descend the tree;
and then, striking into a narrow path, he endeavoured
to retrace his steps to the spot where his men were
dwelling. On his way he was obliged to cross the
high road, where a stranger arrested his steps.
"' Hast thou seen the sheriff of Nottingham in the
forest?' he inquired.
"'Aye, my good fellow, and with a fine band at
his tail,' replied Robin Hood. 'Art thou seeking him ?'
Not him,' returned the stranger, who was a bold
yeoman, dressed in a coat of the untanned skin of
some wild beast, and who carried a bow in his hand,


and a sword and dagger at his side.. I seek not the
sheriff, but him whom he seeks.'
And who may that be?' said the forester, at the
same time forming a pretty shrewd guess.
'A man they call Robin Hood,' answered the
stranger. If thou canst show me where he is, this
purse shall be thine; and taking a well-filled leather
bag from his girdle, he rattled the contents together.
S' Come with me, my friend, and thou shalt soon
see Robin Hood,' returned the outlaw. 'But thou hast
a brave bow; wilt thou not try thy skill with me in
archery?' The stranger at once consented. Robin
Hood with his dagger cut down the branch of a tree,
and fixing it in the earth, suspended upon the top a
little garland, which he entwined with the long grass.
The archers took their station at the distance of three
hundred yards, and the stranger drew the first bow.
His arrow flew past the mark far too high. The out-
law next bent his weapon, and shot within an inch or
two of the stick. Again the yeoman essayed; and
this time his shaft flew straight and passed through
the garland; but Robin Hood stepped up boldly, and


drawing his arrow to the very head, shot it with such
vehemence that it clave the branch into two pieces,
and still flew onwards for some yards.
Give me thy hand,' cried the stranger, -' thou'rt
the bravest bowman I've seen for many a day, an thy
heart be as true as thy aim, thou art a better man
than Robin Hood. What name bearest thou '
"' Nay first tell me thine,' replied Robin, and
then by my faith I will answer thee.'
"' They call me Guy of Gisborne,' rejoined the
yeoman. 'I'm one of the king's rangers; and am
sworn to take that outlawed traitor, Robin Hood.'
He's no traitor, sirrah,' returned the forester
angrily ; and cares as much for thee as for the beast
whose skin thou wearest. I am that outlaw whom
thou seek'st,- I am Robin Hood:' and in a moment
his drawn sword was in his hand.
"' That's for thee then,' cried the yeoman, striking
fiercely. 'Five hundred pounds are set upon thine
head, and if I get it not I'll lose mine own.'
Robin Hood intercepted the intended blow, and
fought skilfully with his fiery and more athletic anta-
gonist, who poured down an incessant shower of strokes


upon him. Once the bold outlaw fell; but recovering
himself sufficiently to place a foot upon the earth,
he thrust his sword at the ranger, and as he drew back
to avoid it, Robin Hood sprung up, and with one
sudden back-handed stroke slew poor Guy of Gisborne
upon the spot. He immediately stripped off the hide
from the dead man, upon whom he put his own green
mantle; and then taking his unfortunate opponent's
bow and arrows and bugle-horn, he drew him into a
thicket, and darted off swiftly to assist his men.
In the mean while the sheriff of Nottingham and
his attendants had pushed their way through the woods
to Barnesdale, where they had been informed the
outlaw was lying.
The bold foresters, ever on the alert, heard the
unusual sound of the tramp of armed men, and with
their bugles gave notice to each other of the danger.
Little John had been in pursuit of a fat doe, which he
was bringing home upon his shoulders, when the
warning sounded upon his ears. Concealing his booty
among the underwood, he bounded through the forest
to the scene of danger, where he found that Will
Stutely and many of his comrades were urging their


utmost speed to escape from some of the sheriff's men,
and two bold foresters lying dead upon the grass. Little
John's wrath was kindled. Forgetful of the impru-
dence of the action, he drew his bow, and let fly an
arrow at the cause of this mischief, but the treacherous
weapon brake in his hand, and the shaft flew wide of
the sheriff, but striking one of his followers stretched
him lifeless upon the turf.
Left almost defenceless by the loss of his bow,
Little John could make but a poor resistance to the
crowd of men who instantly surrounded him. By the
sheriff's order he was bound hand and foot, and tied to
a young oak, receiving at the same time a promise that
so soon as more of his comrades were taken he should
with them be hanged on the highest tree in Barnesdale.
Just then a loud blast from a bugle rang through the
"' Here comes good Guy of Gisborne,' quoth the
sheriff; 'and by his blast I know that he hath slain that
bold knave, Robin Hood. Come hither, good Guy,'
he continued as the outlaw appeared, effectually con-
cealed in the yeoman's clothing. 'What reward wilt
thou have of me ? '


I must finish my work first, good master sheriff,'
replied the disguised hero. I've slain the master,
and now I must kill the knave; but 'twere cruel
ere he has confessed his sins.'
"' Thou'rt a pretty fellow truly to turn father-con-
fessor,' replied the sheriff; but go, do as thou
list, only be quick about it.'
The outlaw stepped to the side of Little John, -
who had easily recognized his beloved master's voice,-
and pretended to listen attentively to what the poor
captive might be saying, but drawing his dagger, he
gently cut the cords that bound his comrade, and
gave him the bow and arrow that he had taken from
Guy of Gisborne.
Robin Hood then placed his own bugle to his lips
and sounded a peculiarly shrill blast, that rung in.the
sheriff's ears as a death knell, so well did he remember
the sound. The two outlaws were quickly supported
by a band of sixty foresters, who had collected together,
and all drew their bows at once against the intruders.
A dense flight of arrows fell upon them. Those who
were not too badly wounded immediately set spurs to
their horses, or took to their heels in the most abrupt


confusion. One poor forester, Will Stutely, they bore
off with them. Robin Hood and his men pursued,
and it was not till they had got half way on their road
back to Nottingham that the defeated sheriff and his
attendants drew rein.

"Robin Hood was sorely grieved when -he learned
that his bold follower had been carried off. Calling
his men together, he made them swear that they would
rescue their brave comrade, or die in the attempt.
Will Scarlet was despatched at once to learn to what
place he was taken; and hastening with all speed to
Nottingham, he found that the news of the terrible
affray, and the sheriff's precipitate flight, had already
caused a great sensation among the gossips of the
town. From them he easily ascertained that the cap-
tive outlaw was imprisoned in the castle, and that he
was to be hanged on the following morning at sunrise.
Scarlet flew back with this intelligence to Robin
Hood, who communicated it to his men, and all again
swore to bring Will Stutely safely back to Barnesdale,
or fearfully avenge his death.


Early on the morning after his capture, the unfor-
tunate prisoner, tightly bound and guarded on every
side, was led from his cell towards the gallows that
had been erected on the plain in front of the castle.
He cast his eyes anxiously around, in the hope that
succour might be at hand, but he could perceive no
signs of the presence of his comrades. Turning to
the sheriff, who attended in person at the execution of
so notorious an outlaw,
"'Grant me one boon, I pray thee,' cried he;
'never has one of Robin Hood's men died like a thief;
let me not be the first. Give me my good sword in
my hand, and do ye all set upon me. I shall
then die as a brave man should.'
"' I've sworn to hang thee on the highest gallows
in Nottingham,' replied the sheriff; and when I catch
that still greater villain, Robin Hood, he shall dance
by thy side.'
"' Thou'rt a dastard coward!' cried Stutely in a
rage, a faint-hearted peasant slave! By'r lady, if e'er
thou meet'st bold Robin Hood, thou'lt have payment
for the deed thou'rt doing. He scorns and despises
thee, and all thy cowardly crew, who will as soon take


King Henry prisoner as brave Robin Hood;' and the
forester laughed loudly in defiance.
At the sheriff's command the executioner seized
him by the arms, and hurried him to the fatal tree;
he was just about to affix the rope, when a tall yeoman
leaped out of an adjacent bush, and with a stroke of
his sword felled the officer to the earth.
I'm come to take leave of thee, Will, before thou
diest,' cried the intruder; 'and, good master sheriff,
thou must spare him to me awhile.'"
"' As I live,' cried the sheriff, to his attendants,
'yon varlet's a rebel too, and one of Robin Hood's men,
seize him five pounds for his head, dead or alive.'
But, in a moment, Little John, for he it was, cut
the bonds that secured his comrade, and snatching a
sword from one of the soldiers, gave it him, shouting,
'Fight, Will, defend thyself, man--Help is near. -
To the rescue -To the rescue.' And turning back
to back, the two outlaws gallantly parried the attacks
of their assailants.
To the rescue! To the rescue!' echoed a host
of voices from a neighboring wood; and Robin
Hood, with seven-score men, bounded across the


green plain. A flight of arrows from their bows
rattled upon the armour of the soldiers, and more
than one stuck into the sheriff's robe.
'Away, my men, away!' cried he, flying to the
castle for shelter. 'Tis Robin Hood himself;' and
the knowledge that the outlaw would especially choose
him for a mark added wings to the speed of the
valiant sheriff. His men--nothing loth to follow
such an example, vied with each other in the race, so
greatly to the amusement of the merry outlaws that
they could not for laughter discharge an arrow in
pursuit of them.
"' I little thought, good master, to have seen thy
face again,' said Will Stutely; and to thee, my bold
comrade,' he added, addressing Little John, 'to thee
I owe my best thanks. 'Twill be a long day ere
Will Stutely forgets thy kindness.'
May we ever thus support each other in danger,'
said Robin Hood, loud enough for the whole band
to hear him. 'But, my brave yeomen, we must
away, or we shall have the whole nest of hornets
about our ears;' and, with many a laugh at the sud-
den flight of the sheriff, and the glorious rescue of


one of their favourite companions, the bold foresters
plunged again into the woods and returned to Bar-
nesdale, where they celebrated the joyful occasion
with feasting and music, till the stars glittering through
the topmost branches of the trees warned them that
the hour of rest was at hand.

"For some long time after this last daring adventure,
Robin Hood and his men were so hotly pressed by
the sheriff that it was with difficulty that they eluded
the pursuit. Now concealing themselves in the. recesses
of a cavern, now in the thickest coverts of the forest,
they were obliged almost daily to change their abode,
until at last, tired of the incessant chase, the sheriff
disbanded his forces and returned to Nottingham.
When the outlaws were well assured of this, they
quickly came back to their old haunts in Barnesdale
and Sherwood, and pursued their usual course of
life. One evening Robin Hood was roving through
the woods, when he espied a sturdy-looking beggar,
clad in an old patched cloak, come jogging along.
In his hand he carried a thick oaken staff, with which


he assisted himself in walking, and round his neck
a well-filled meal-bag was suspended by a broad
leather belt, while three steeple crowned hats placed
within each other, sheltered his bald pate from the
rain and snow.
"'Stay, good friend,' said Robin Hood to him as
they met; thou seem'st in haste to-night.'
I've far to go yet,' answered the beggar, still push-
ing onwards, and should look foolish enough to get
to my lodging house when all the supper's done.'
"' Ay! ay! returned Robin Hood, walking by his
side. 'So long as thou fillest thine own mouth, thou
carest but little about mine. Lend me some money,
my friend, till we meet again. I've not dined yet,
and my credit at the tavern is but indifferent.'
"' If thou fastest till I give thee money,' replied
the mendicant, 'thou'lt eat nothing this year. Thou'rt
a younger man than I am, and ought to work: and
the old fellow pushed on still more briskly.
"'Now, by my troth, thou'rt but a churl,' cried
the outlaw. If thou hast but one farthing in thy
pouch, 'tshall part company with thee before I go.
Off with thy ragged cloak, and let's see what treasures


it conceals, or I'll make a window in it with my good
broad arrows.'
"' Dost think I care for wee hits of sticks like
them?' said the beggar, laughing; 'they're fit for
nothing but skewers for a housewife's pudding-bag.'
Robin Hood drew back a pace or two, and fitted an
arrow to his bow-string, but before he could let it fly
the beggar swung his staff round his head, and with
one stroke splintered bow and arrow into twenty
pieces. The outlaw drew his sword, and was about
to repay this with interest, when a second blow from
the old man's stick lighted upon his wrist, and so
great was the pain it caused that his blade fell
involuntarily from his grasp. Poor Robin Hood was
now completely in the beggar's power; -

"' He could not fight -he could not flee,-
He wist not what to do;
The beggar, with his noble tree,
Laid lusty slaps him to.
"' He paid good Robin back and side,
And baste him up and down;
And with his pike-staff laid on loud,
Till he fell in a swoon.'


"' Stand up, man,' cried the beggar jeeringly, ''tis
hardly bed-time yet. Count thy money, man buy
ale and wine with it, and give thy friends a jovial
carouse. How they'll laugh at the poor beggar.'
Robin Hood answered not a word, but lay still as
a stone ; his cheeks pale as ashes, and his eyes closed.
The beggar gave him a parting thwack, and thinking
that he had killed the saucy highwayman, went boldly
on his way.
It fortunately happened that Will Scarlet and
two of his comrades were soon after passing by, and
seeing a man lying by the road-side, apparently dead,
walked up to him. What was their consternation and
grief when they beheld their loved chief weltering in
his blood. Will Scarlet bended upon one knee, and
raised his master's head upon the other. One forester
ran to a brook that flowed close by, and brought back
his cap filled with water, which they sprinkled upon
his face, and his companion drew from his pouch a
little leather bottle, the contents of which speedily
revived the unfortunate outlaw.
"' Tell us, dear master,' exclaimed Will Scarlet,
'who has done this ?'


"Robin Hood sighed deeply. 'I've roved in these
woods for many years,' he said, 'but never have I
been so hard beset as on this day. A beggar with an
old patched cloak, for whom I would not have given a
straw, has so basted my back with his pike-staff that
it will be many a day ere Robin Hood will lead his
merry men again.- See! see ', he added as he raised
his head;-' there goes the man, on yonder hill, with
three hats upon his head. My friends,-if you love
your master, go and revenge this deed; bring him
back to me, and let me see with mine own eyes the
punishment you'll give him.'
One of us shall remain with thee,' replied Will;
'thou'rt ill at ease. The other two will quickly bring
back yon evil-minded miscreant.'
"' Nay, nay,' returned the discomfited outlaw; by
my troth ye will have enough to do if he once get
scope for that villanous staff of his.-Go, all of ye,
-seize him suddenly -bind him fast, and bring him
here, that I may repay him for these hard blows
that he has given me.'
Will Scarlet and his two companions started off
as fast as they could run, dashing onward through


many a miry pool, and over many a tiring hill, until
they arrived at a part of the road that wound through
the forest by a way at least a mile and a half nearer
than the beaten path that the beggar had taken. There
was a dense copse of trees in the bottom of a valley
through which a little brook gently streamed, and the
road-way ran close to it. The foresters, well acquaint-
ed with every acre of the ground which they so often
traversed, took advantage of this grove, and concealed
themselves behind the well covered branches. In the
mean while the old beggar rejoicing in the victory he
had so lately obtained, walked sturdily on, as briskly as
age and his weary limbs would allow him. He passed
by the copse without the least suspicion of lurking
danger, but had proceeded only a step or two farther
when his staff was violently seized by one of the fores-
ters, and a dagger was pointed to his breast, with
threats of vengeance if he resisted.
"'Oh! spare my life,' cried the beggar, at once
relinquishing his hold, and take away that ugly knife.
What have I done to deserve this ? I am but a poor
beggar, who has never wronged thee or thine.'
Thou liest, false carle,' replied Will, thou hast


well nigh slain the noblest man that e'er trod the forest
grass. Back shalt thou go to him, and before yon sun
sinks down thy carcase shall be dangling from the
highest tree in Barnesdale.'
The beggar was sorely frightened at this terrible
threat; he had lost his only weapon, and his aged limbs
were but a poor match against three stout young men.
He began to despair and to give himself up as lost,
when a thought struck him. 'Brave gentlemen,' he
said, why take ye a poor man's blood ? 'Twill make
ye none the richer. If ye will give me liberty, and pro-
mise to do me no more harm, I have a hundred golden
pounds in this meal-bag, that shall be yours.' The
foresters whispered together and determined to get the
money first, come afterwards what might.
"' Give us thy money,' said Will, and we'll let
thee go thy way.' The beggar unfastened the clasp of
his belt, and taking it from his neck, spread the meal-
bag upon the grass, while the young men anxious for
the gold, bent over, eager to seize upon the expected
prize. The old fellow pretended to search very dili-
gently at the bottom of the bag, and pulled out a peck
or two of meal, which he piled into a heap; then watch-


ing his opportunity, he filled both hands full, and
threw it violently in the faces of the outlaws, who,
blinded and astonished, began to rub their eyes most
woefully. The beggar sprung up in a moment, seized
his staff, and in a twinkling began to belabour their
backs and shoulders.
'I have mealed your coats,' he cried, but I've a
good pike-staff here that will soon beat them clean
again;' and before the youths could recover from their
consternation the old man plied his staff so manfully
that his arm ached from the exertion, and he was
obliged to stay for rest.
"The young outlaws did not attempt to retaliate;
indeed they could not see where to strike; but trusting
to their swiftness, scampered away even more briskly
than they had come; and the beggar laughing at the
success of his wile, plunged into the woods, and made
the best of his way from Barnesdale forest.
When Will Scarlet and his comrades presented
themselves before Robin Hood, the bold outlaw, ill as
he was, could not refrain from bursting into laughter
at their sheepish appearance. They hung down their
heads, and still rubbed their eyes, while the meal on


their coats made known the trick that had been played
upon them.
'What have ye done with the bold beggar? in-
quired Robin Hood; surely three of ye were a match
for him.' Will Scarlet replied; told him of their first
success, and the old man's promise of money; but
when he came to the meal and the drubbing they had
received, Robin Hood laughed till his bruised limbs
ached. Although he would fain have revenged himself
upon his opponent, yet the cleverness of the trick so
pleased his fancy that he swore that if ever he met the
sturdy beggar again, he would, by fair means or foul,
make him join his band in merry Barnesdale."
This tale was frequently interrupted with the loud
laughter of my hearers, who all praised the dexterity of
the old beggar-man.


UPON the next evening that we met together I found
my school-fellows waiting for me under the old tree,
and taking my usual seat, I immediately began:-
Many a gay meadow bedecked with daisies and
buttercups stretches its verdant surface by the banks
of the fair river Trent; and many a wood filled with
merry birds lines its brink so closely that the
pendent branches of the trees lave themselves in its
transparent waters. It was upon the evening of a
lovely day in spring, when every flower looked fresh
and beautiful, and the early leaves of the forest shone
in their brightest green tint, that a party of young
men emerging upon one of these meadows from the
surrounding woods, began to amuse themselves in
the athletic exercises in which our forefathers so much


delighted. Some of them struck slight branches into
the earth, and placing a pole transversely upon them,
leaped over it at nearly their own height from the
ground. Presently a signal was given, and four or
five youths bounded across the lawn with the speed of
young stags, viewing with each other in the first attain-
ment of the solitary elm that graced the centre of the
meadow. High swelled the bosom of the victor as,
breathless and panting, he received the reward of his
achievement, perhaps a new scarlet cap, or a bright
new girdle, and proud was he to know that the chief
to whom he had sworn allegiance beheld and smiled
approvingly on his success.
"But now a more important contest began. One of
the foresters stood forward, and fixed up a target, the
face of which was rudely painted in circles of various
colours, a small white spot serving as a centre. A
line was drawn at the distance of five hundred feet
from this mark, near which about twenty bowmen
took their station; one after another each stept up to
it, bent his bow, and let fly an arrow with all the
force he could command. Many shafts had flown far
wide of the target, and some few had struck it near


the side, when the turn arrived for a gaily-dressed
archer to make his trial. Walking deliberately to the
line, he very carefully placed his arrow upon the bow-
string, raised it till it was on a level with his ear, and
instantly discharged it. The quivering shaft sank
deeply within two inches of the white centre.
"' Bravely done, Will Scarlet,' exclaimed a forester
who stood apart from the rest, and who evidently
controlled their movements; 'thou'lt soon become as
good a bowman as e'er trod the green-wood.'
"' I do my best, good master,' replied Will to
Robin Hood, who had taken advantage of the cool
iP evening, in order to exercise his men; but here is
one whom I fear I scarcely equal:' and a bold
forester, who was known to his companions by the
cognomen of Much, the Miller's Son,' stood forward,
and drew his bow. The nicely-balanced arrow shot
swift as lightning through the air, and pierced the very
centre of the target. A loud huzza followed this
achievement, and Robin Hood himself shouted louder
than the rest. In a moment after all was hushed,
for the tall forester, brave Little John, took the last
turn, and his comrades, knowing well his dexterity,


breathlessly awaited the result of the contest. After
carefully selecting a well-feathered arrow, he stood
erect as a young tree, drew back his bow-string with
the strength of a giant, and suddenly let it slip. For
a minute or two no one could tell where the arrow
had gone; it was just possible to trace its flight as it
whizzed through the air, but it was not to be seen
on the target. Little John, smiling as he beheld the
looks of surprise, ran swiftly across the intervening
space, and, to their astonishment, drew forth his
shaft from out of that of the miller's, which it had
struck, and cloven about half way down.
Robin Hood and his followers shouted with rap-
ture, and the victor bending upon one knee, received
from his master, as a reward for his prowess, a beau-
tiful arrow of silver.
"'By my troth,' said the outlaw, as he gave it to
him, 'I would ride a hundred miles, any day, to find
an archer like thee.'
"' Thou'st no need to go so far,' cried Will Scarlet,
rather envious of the better success of his companions.
'There's a friar in Fountains' Dale that will bend a
bow against him or thee, ay, or against all thy men.'


"'I'll neither eat nor drink till I find him,' said the
bold outlaw. Tis too late to seek him this evening,
but ere I break my fast to-morrow I'll see this valiant
friar.' And as he spake he drew an arrow from his
quiver, and fixed it upon his bow-string.
A young hart had innocently trotted forth from the
shelter of the woods, and was making its way towards
the brink of the river, when the noise of the foresters
reached its ear. Startled at the sound, the creature
turned its pretty head, gazed for a moment, and, frigh-
tened at the unaccustomed scene, bounded at full speed
back towards the concealment of the forest. The out-
law's keen eye had followed its motions, and wishing to
display the superiority of his skill, he let fly an arrow
at it while in its swiftest flight; the poor fawn immedi-
ately dropped, although the distance between it and
the archer was, at the least, a quarter of a mile.
"' Dost think the friar of Fountains' Abbey will
beat that'?' asked Robin Hood as he slackened his
"'Ay marry, that will he,' replied Will Scarlet;
' many's the buck he has killed at half a mile.'
'I'll never draw bow again,' returned the chief, if


a lazy friar once beats me in archery. What say ye,
my friends, shall we find out this gallant priest ''
Make him join us,' cried several voices.
"' To-morrow at earliest dawn be ready to attend
me,' said Robin Hood; and with Little John by his
side, he left the meadow.
The foresters then parted into groups and strolled
away, some to the banks of the stream, others to the
darkening woods, while a few, not yet content as to
their inferiority, sought again to try their speed against
the victors.

"Upon the next morning, ere the sun had risen above
the horizon, Robin Hood started from his couch, and
armed himself. He put on his helmet and breast-plate,
he took up his good broadsword, his long tried buckler,
and his trustiest bow, and then placing his bugle-horn
to his lips, he played so loud a reveille that his men,
frightened from their slumbers, seized their nearest
weapons, as if an army had appeared against them.
A few gentler notes made them remember the appoint-
ed time, and soon fifty bold youths attended the


summons of their master. He bade them hasten to
Fountains' Dale by the shortest path, but on no ac-
count to show themselves till he had sounded three
blasts upon his bugle; and with a light foot and
merry heart he sprang into his horse's saddle, and set
out to encounter the renowned friar.
This friar, whose fame was spread far and wide,
had once been an inmate and one of the brethren
of Fountains' Abbey, but his irregular course of life
and lawless pursuits had brought down upon him
the wrath of the superior, and he had been expelled.
Friar Tuck, so was he called, bore his disgrace
boldly; he immediately retired to the forests, and
there built himself a rude hut of the large stones
with which the country abounded, thatching it with
branches of trees. There he lived in solitude, gain-
ing from the country people, who frequently came
to him for religious consolation, a character of the
greatest sanctity. The friar took care to turn this
to his advantage, and many were the presents of
butter, milk, and sometimes of a more enlivening
liquid, that he received. But these did not constitute
his chief means of livelihood; early in the morning


the friar had more than once been seen with a good
long bow in his hand, and a quiver of arrows at his
side, and a report had gone abroad that few could
equal him in the use of this favourite weapon.
"The friar was a tall burly man, at least six
feet high, with a broad expanded chest, and a mus-
cular arm that the sturdiest blacksmith might have
been proud of. He usually wore a dark mulberry
coloured cloak that reached nearly to his ancles,
and girded it with a black woollen rope, the two
ends of which hung down before him, about half a
yard in length. On the morning upon which Robin
Hood had determined to discover him, from some
unaccountable reason friar Tuck had put a steel cap
upon his head, and a corslet upon his breast, and
with his long oaken staff in his hand had rambled
to the margin of the fair river Skell, where he stood
gazing steadfastly upon the waves, as they rippled by.
Presently he heard the sound of a horse's step, and
turning, he beheld within a few feet of him an armed
horseman. The stranger quickly dismounted, and
fastening his steed by his bridle, to the branch of
a tree, advanced towards him.


"'Art thou the Friar of Fountains' Abbey? he
asked, when each had regarded the other in silence
for a short space.
'They that speak of me call me so,' replied the
priest; why dost thou seek me '
"' Carry me over this stream, thou burly friar,
and I will tell thee,' replied Robin Hood. The
priest, without a word, tucked up his garments
to the waist, took the daring outlaw upon his back,
and gravely waded across the stream. Robin Hood
leaped off lightly upon the opposite bank.
Now do thou carry me back, thou gay gallant,'
said the friar. The outlaw stooped, took him upon
his shoulders, and with great difficulty bore his weighty
burden across.
"'Now by my faith thou'rt double the weight
that I am,' cried Robin Hood as the priest alighted,
' and I'll have two rides to thy one.' The friar
did not answer, but taking up the merry forester
again, bore him to the middle of the stream, and
bending down, pitched him headlong into the
"' Choose thee, my fine fellow, whether thou'lt


sink or swim!' he said; 'a morning bath will do thine
health good.' Robin Hood scrambled to the bank,
fitted an arrow to his bow, and let it fly at the trea-
cherous friar; but the wet had sodden both the bow-
string and the feathers of the shaft, and it flew far
wide. The priest not wishing to stand a second
trial, flourished his staff and knocked the bow from
the grasp of the forester, who quickly drew his
sword and retaliated by severely wounding his vi-
gorous opponent upon the shoulder. The friar at this
grew wrathful, and returned a most terrible thwack
upon the outlaw's head. Blow followed upon blow;
now the thick oaken staff beat down the less weighty
but more deadly weapon, and again the sharp edge
of the sword drank blood. They fought thus for more
than an hour, and each began to weary of such warm
work before breakfast.
"'A boon, a boon,' cried Robin Hood, retiring
from the contest. 'Give me leave to sound three
blasts upon my bugle-horn.'
"'Blow till thy cheeks crack,' returned the friar.
'Think'st thou I fear a bugle blast?' The outlaw
sounded the horn thrice, so loudly that the friar

.LEh~c ,,-. .- -


i .i: OOtD &TIW, FRIAR

'~ 1:


clapped his hands to his ears, and beat a retreat for
several yards. The signal was immediately returned,
and apparently from close at hand. In two minutes
more a tall yeoman leaped from the adjacent wood,
and followed by fifty young foresters, with bows ready
in their hands, ran to the side of their commander.
"' Whose men are these asked the friar, greatly
surprised at this sudden reinforcement.
"'They're Robin Hood's bold foresters,' said the
outlaw; 'and I am Robin Hood. Wilt join our
merry troop'? Thou'rt the bravest friar that e'er wore
cowl, and if thou canst let fly an arrow as well as
thou canst wield a quarter-staff, thou'rt a match for
my boldest man.'
"' Let's have a bout,' said friar Tuck, unwilling
to fight against such odds as were opposed to him.
' If there's an archer here that can beat me at the long-
bow, I'll be thy man. If I'm the best, swear that
thou wilt leave me free in mine own woods.'
"' Agreed !' cried the outlaw. 'Stand forth, brave
Little John, and for the credit of Robin Hood
choose thy truest shaft.'
"' Ne'er fear me,' replied the tall forester, as he


carelessly advanced. 'Shoot on, my brave fellow, and
at what mark you may, only for St. Hubert's sake,
let it be some five hundred feet or so from us.'
"' Seest thou yon bird '' said the friar, pointing to a
hawk that, with fluttering wings, hovered at a con-
siderable height above a neighboring brake. I will
kill it. If thou canst strike it again ere it reaches
the earth, I'll say thou art a better man than friar
Tuck.' Drawing an arrow from his quiver, with
apparent ease he shot the ill-fated bird, which in-
stantly fell to the earth, but not before a second shaft
had transfixed its body. A young forester darted
away, and quickly returned with the prize, when it
appeared that the friar's arrow had pinioned the hawk's
wings to its sides, and that Little John's had pierced
through from its breast to its back.
Well done, my brave archers,' cried the outlaws'
chief; 'there's many a bowman in merry England
would give his best weapon to shoot like ye. What
says my gallant friar ? will he keep his promise "?'
'What I have said, that will I do,' replied the
priest; but first I must return to my hut, and possess
myself of its valuable contents.' Robin Hood offered


to accompany him, and dismissing his followers, he
and the friar by turns rode upon the horse, first to the
hut and then to the green woods of Sherwood.

Robin Hood used frequently to disguise himself,
and pay visits to the neighboring villages, in order to
learn if any thing were going on in which he might
take a part. In one of these excursions, he overheard
a conversation between two priests, by which he
learned that the bishop of Hereford was expected to
pass that way very shortly, upon a visit to his holy
brother, the archbishop of York. The outlaw lost
no time in ascertaining the route which the reverend
father would travel, and with a merry heart he hurried
back to his followers in Sherwood forest. At the
sound of his well known bugle, two-score yeomen
quickly surrounded him, Little John and Will Scarlet
among them.
"' We shall have noble company to dine with us,'
said Robin Hood. Kill a good fat buck or two,
and prepare a feast.' Three or four foresters quickly
darted away to execute this commission.


"'Who may it be, master,' asked Little John,
'that loves to be merry under the green-wood tree ? '
"' Love or not love,' cried the captain laughing,
'a holy bishop dines with us to-day, though he brings
a dozen companions with him. But 'tis time to meet
his reverence. Do thou and Will Scarlet attend me,
and thou too,- and thou,- and thou,'- he added,
tapping with his bow the heads of three of his tallest
followers, who most willingly and joyfully complied.
The bishop of Hereford, as many bishops were
in those days, was very rich, very avaricious, and ex-
ceedingly tyrannical. By the nobles he was regarded
as a powerful prelate, and a support to the dignity of
the church; but the people looked upon him with
fear, as a proud, overbearing priest. Upon the occa-
sion of his visit to his brother of York, the bishop
of Hereford rode on horseback, dressed in the white
robes of his sacred office; a massive gold chain was
suspended round his neck, supporting a golden cru-
cifix, and in his right hand he carried his crosier,
of the same precious metal. His milk-white steed,
also, was richly caparisoned with silken trappings.
The dean of Hereford, attired in a plain black cassock,


rode humbly by the side of his superior, who, from
time to time, deigned to hold converse with him upon
the vanities of this wicked world. Behind them,
twenty horsemen, armed at all points, with broad-
swords by their sides and lances in rest, followed
slowly upon chargers of the jettest black, and three
or four servants leading sumpter mules closed the
rear. Notwithstanding all this pompous array, it
was with many a misgiving that the bishop ventured
to enter upon the dangerous road through Sherwood
"' Holy brother,' said he to the dean, 'dost thou
think that the man called Robin Hood will dare to
molest the Lord's anointed, if perchance he should
have heard of our journeying ? '
'They say, reverend father,' replied the dean,
'that he holds the holy brethren of the church but
cheaply, and pays but little respect to any of our cloth.
I would that we had taken a more circuitous route,
and avoided the paths of this wicked man.'
"' It is too late to return now,' said the bishop;
'and have we not twenty armed men to support us in the
hour of trial! Comfort ye, my brother,- with this


will I drive off the enemies of holy church;' and as
he spake he flourished his crosier above his head.
They had proceeded but a short way farther, when
they suddenly came upon six shepherds, dancing
merrily round a fire, with which they were cooking
venison, by the road-side.
"' Ha !' cried the bishop when he smelt the savoury
odour that exhaled from the roasting flesh. Dare
ye, villains as ye are, slay the king's deer, and cook
it upon the open road ? By St. Paul, ye shall answer
for this.'
"'Mercy! mercy! good bishop,' cried one of the
shepherds; surely it beseemeth not thy holy office to
take away the lives of so many innocent peasants.'
"' Guards, seize these villains,' cried the prelate,
indignant at the presumption of the serf; -'away
with them to York,- they shall be strung on the
highest gibbet in the city.' The armed horsemen
turned not over-willingly against the offenders, and
endeavoured to seize them, but with a loud laugh they
darted among the trees, where the steeds could not
possibly follow. Presently the shepherd who had
begged for mercy pulled from under his frock a little


bugle-horn, and blew a short call upon it. The
bishop and his retinue started with affright, and had
already begun to urge on their horses, when they
found themselves surrounded on every side by archers,
dressed in green, with bows drawn in their hands.
"' Mercy mercy !' cried the bishop in great trepi-
dation at the sight of fifty or more arrows ready to
pierce him through. 'Have mercy upon an unfortu-
nate traveller.'
"'Fear not, good father,' replied Robin Hood, who
was the shepherd that had before spoken;, 'we do but
crave thy worshipful company to dine with us under
the green-wood tree, and then, when thou hast paid
the forest toll, thou shalt depart in safety ;' and, step-
ping into the road, the bold outlaw laid one hand upon
the embossed bridle of the bishop's steed, and held
the stirrup with the other.
"'Oh! that we had but gone the outer road,'
groaned the bishop to his holy brother; 'we should
have avoided these limbs of the evil one.'
"'Nay, nay reverend father,' cried Robin Hood,
laughing at the poor bishop's rueful countenance;
' call us not by so bad a name. We do but take from


the rich to administer to the necessities of the poor
and if we do now and then slay a fat buck or two,
our good king will never know his loss. But dis-
mount, holy sir; and do ye, my friends, come like-
wise; right merry shall we be with such a jovial
company.' The horsemen quickly did as they were
bidden, but the bishop most reluctantly unseated
himself, and with many a deep sigh obeyed the
injunction of the outlaw. Some of the foresters
immediately seized the horses, and tied their bridles
to the lower branches of the trees; but the sumpter
mules were hurried away through the wood as quickly
as the narrow foot-paths would allow.
"At Robin Hood's command, two young fellows
took the unwilling bishop between them upon their
shoulders, and followed by the whole company, bore
him to their favourite lawn. A solitary beech tree,
whose arms, covered with thick foliage, extended far
around, stood in the centre, affording a delightful
shade from the bright summer sun. Robin Hood
seated himself upon one of the twisted roots that grew
above the surface of the turf, and commanded that his
visitor should be brought before him. Little John,


taking off his cap as he approached, gently led him
to the outlaw, while, to show his spite against him,
one of the young foresters had the audacity to tie the
prelate's arms behind his back.
"' Thou art accused of deep crimes,' exclaimed
Robin Hood. It is said that thou dost gripe the
poor man with a hard hand, and showest but little
mercy to the unfortunate. How answerest thou ? '
"' By what right, mean serf,' replied the bishop,
the blood rushing to his temples, 'dost thou question
an anointed servant of the church ? '
"'Pax vobiscum,' cried friar Tuck, coming for-
ward, and folding his arms in an attitude of defiance.
'Wherefore not, good father ? Answer boldly, and
swear by St. Paul that thou ne'er robbed the fatherless
and the widow.'
'What canting priest art thou ?' exclaimed the
bishop. 'For thine insolence thou shalt be expelled
the church; thy gown shall be stripped from thee,
and thou shalt be branded as an impostor.'
"' Save thyself the trouble,' replied the fi-iar,
laughing. 'The holy abbot of Fountains' Dale has
forestalled thee in thy kind intentions.'


"'Hold,' cried Robin Hood, rising from his seat,
'we'll have no-more of these priestly quarrels. Reve-
rend father, accompany us to our trysting tree, and
we'll drink to thy speedy amendment.' Then cutting
his bonds with a dagger, he took the hand of his
unwilling guest, and led him to the spot where they
usually partook of their repasts.
"Upon the grass was spread a large cloth, covered
with viands. Smoking haunches of venison per-
fumed the air, and huge pasties baked in pewter
vessels, roasted wild swans, peacocks, and a host
of minor dishes, filled up any vacancies upon the
cloth. At Robin Hood's request, the bishop said
grace, and fifty or more foresters quickly seated
themselves to partake of this gallant feast. The
prelate, for one in his situation, ate most heartily.
His merry host no sooner saw that his platter was
empty than he again filled it from the most savoury
dishes. Wine flowed in abundance, and when, in
obedience to Robin Hood, every man filled his goblet
to the brim, and quaffed its contents to the health
of the bishop of Hereford, the good father for some
moments quite forgot his misfortunes, and striking

'.1 ~~

l,~c~~-~~i F~~~~-*sn4 1

T~rEB~ 1{O OF i ~ HE EF R


his palm into the sinewy hand of Robin Hood, swore
that he was a jovial fellow.
Many a ballad was then trolled forth by the fo-
resters, and in the excitement of the scene even the
bishop ventured upon a stave; but, at the moment
he had concluded the first verse, his eye caught
sight of one of his mules, from whose back an out-
law was busily removing the trunk that contained
his treasure.
"'Bring me the reckoning, good host,' said he
meekly, stopping short in his song; I would fain
discharge it, and proceed upon my journey.'
"' Lend me thy purse, good bishop,' cried Little
John, and I will save thee the trouble.'
"'Take it,' replied the prelate, throwing a very
light bag of money to the forester, 'and give the
surplus to the poor.
"Little John opened the mouth of the purse, and
emptied out ten golden nobles upon the grass. 'And
dost thou think,' he exclaimed, laughing heartily at
the owner's rueful countenance, -' dost thou think
that a bishop pays no more toll than this ? Verily,
reverend father, the meanest farmer in Nottingham-


shire readily grants us so poor a trifle. Ho there! '
he cried to the man who was disburthening the mules,
bring hither yonder trunk.' It was quickly brought,
and with the help of a broadsword soon opened.
Little John first pulled out a handsome cloak, which
he spread upon the grass; a gown of the purest white
lawn, an ermined robe, and a golden mitre, were
each brought forth in succession, and greatly admir-
ed by the delighted foresters; but presently a clink
of metal was heard, and the bold robber drew forth
a beautiful ivory casket. The point of a dagger was
in a moment applied to the fastening, and treasures
invaluable were revealed. The bishop, who had sat
shivering with anxiety during the search, now sud-
denly sprang to his feet with wonderful alacrity,
and would have seized his precious wealth, had not
Robin Hood caught him by the arm.
"'Calm thyself, good father,' said the outlaw; 'do
but fancy that thou art distributing this gold in alms
to the poor, and thou wilt ne'er repent thee of thy
charity.' The bishop did not reply, but gazed stead-
fastly on the glittering coin, the sparkling jewels,


and the holy beads, that Little John was exhibiting
to his companions.
"' Rouse ye, my merry men,' cried the chief; see
ye not how sad ye have made our reverend guest!' A
young man quickly brought a rude harp, upon which
he struck a lively air, and the gallant outlaw taking
the bishop by the hand, led him forth, followed by
the foresters in pairs. The dance commenced, and
the poor prelate, unwilling to provoke his tormen-
tors to extremities, joined in the nimble step, which
was prolonged till his weary feet could no longer
sustain their burden. The reverend father fell fairly
to the earth from sheer exhaustion.
"At Robin Hood's bidding, the two young men
again took the bishop upon their shoulders, and
bore him to the spot where his steed and those of
his retinue were fastened. They placed him upon
his saddle, with his face to the animal's tail, and
giving it him instead of the bridle, they pricked the
creature with their daggers, and started it off at full
gallop, the terrified rider clinging both with hands
and knees to its back. The dean, the armed horse-


men, and the servants were allowed to follow their
superior in peace; but the sumpter mules and their
burdens were detained as payment for the feast that
had been given to their owners."


IT was, I remember, upon a Saturday afternoon that
I was again asked to tell a tale of Robin Hood. On
this, the last day of our week of seclusion, how great
were the pleasures of our half-holiday! Frequently
we had permission granted us to stroll among the
fields in the neighbourhood; in the spring time, to
gather the bright yellow primrose, or search for the
nests of the poor innocent birds; and, in the autumn
season, to pluck the delicious blackberries that, in some
places, and we knew them well, abounded among
the thorny hedges.
At about the distance of a quarter of a mile from
our old school-house there was an extensive park.
Many hundred acres of land were covered with fine
trees oaks, elms, and firs, variously intermixed -
while here and there were open lawns, clothed only


with grass and the beautiful wild flowers, that spring
up, unnurtured, in their native soil. An ancient man-
sion stood in the midst, upon the summit of a hill,
whence, looking over the woods, the face of the coun-
try for miles around could be traced as upon a map.
The house was deserted-the owner resided in a foreign
land, and his noble English park was neglected:
it had once been paled round, but in many places
the wooden staves were broken, and a gap made,
through which every passenger might enter. We
often did, and chased each other among the crowded
thickets; and now, glad of the opportunity of escaping
from our confined play-ground, we repaired to this de-
lightful park, where, seated upon the grass, with my
companions lying around me, I told them the tale of

In the time of Henry the Second, and for many
years afterwards, until the use of gunpowder was
known, the science of archery was greatly encouraged
in England among all ranks and classes; and even
the good citizens of London constantly exercised their
bows in Finsburie fielde'


"The feast of St. Bartholomew was particularly
celebrated by games of this kind: a finely wrought
bow or a golden arrow was given as a prize to the best
marksman, and the presence of the king and his
court contributed not a little to add interest to the long
looked-for contests.
One year, towards the close of King Henry's
reign, proclamation was as usual made, that the 'royal
games of archery' would be held in Finsbury field,
upon St. Bartholomew's day. Queen Eleanor was
passionately fond of the sport, and rarely missed an
opportunity of witnessing the superior skill displayed
by the royal archers. She had heard much of Robin
Hood, but had never seen that gallant outlaw;
and as the fame of his rencontre with the bishop of
Hereford had spread far and wide, she felt a secret
desire to behold so daring and so celebrated a man.
Summoning a young page who waited her commands,
she gave him a beautiful golden ring, and bade him
hasten with all speed to Sherwood forest, and deliver
it to the forester, with her request that he would come
to London and take a part in the approaching games.
The youth lost no time in executing his mistress'

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