LITTLE JOHN AND HIS MERRY MEN ALL.
INCLUDING AN ACCOUNT OF HIS
BIRTH, EDUCATION, AND DEATH.
The Birth and Parentage of Robin Hood.
Kind gentlemen, listen a while to my story, and I will tell
you the bold exploits of the famous Robin Hood and his
comrade, Little John.
All England was filled with the renown of Robin Hood,
and the great and the valiant stood in fear of him. He
never harmed the poor, for he pitied their fate, and only
spoiled the wealthy and proud, or nobles and slothful
bishops, who lived in state on the fruit of the husbandman's
toil. Robin was born in the merry town of Locksley, in
Nottinghamshire. His father was a stout forester, and kept
the deer of King Richard the First; his mother was niece to
the celebrated Sir Guy of Warwick, and was sister to Squire
Gamewell, of Great Gamewell Hall.
One day (when Robin was about fourteen years old) his
mother thus spoke to her spouse—"Dear husband, to-morrow
is Christmas Day, therefore let Robin and I take a ride
to Gamewell Hall this morning to see my brother and taste
his good ale and pudding. The squire was overjoyed to see
his sister, and young Robin learned the use of the bow, and
became the best marksman in the place."
Robin's Progress to Nottingham. Being an Account of his
Adventures with the Fifteen Foresters.
Robin Hood was now about fifteen years old; in person
tall and stout, and of a good countenance; in courage and
strength few equalled him. One day he determined to take
a journey to Nottingham, hearing that the king had appointed
a shooting match in that town, to be disputed by
the best archers. When he came thither he happened to
fall into company with fifteen stout foresters, who sat drinking
and laughing together. "What news, what news?"
said bold Robin Hood, "that you drink and talk so merrily."
The foresters who despised him on account of his youth,
answered roughly, "We are come to win the king's prize,
which we are resolved to carry off, in spite of all opposition,
and will not be questioned by boys." "I have as good a
bow as the best," said Robin Hood, "and will contest the
prize with you." "We hold thee and thy bow in scorn,"
said they; "shall a stripling like thee bear a bow before the
king's archers, that is not able to draw the string?" "I'll
lay a bet of twenty crowns," said Robin, "that I win the
king's prize, and hit the mark at a hundred yards distance."
"Doubt not I'll make the wager good,
Or ne'er believe bold Robin Hood."
The mark was a running hart, let loose for the purpose;
and when the other bowmen had tried their skill, Robin
took his bow, and his well-made arrows, and taking good
aim, fairly hit the mark, at a hundred yards distance, the
multitude shouted, and hailed the young victor with joy.
"The prize is mine," said Robin Hood, "I claim it; the
wager, too, is mine, give it me." "The prize is none of
thine," said the fifteen foresters, "and the wager shall be
none of thine. Take up thy bow, insolent boy, and begone,
or we will break thy bones." Robin Hood, full of rage,
cried out, "You said I was no archer, but you have found me
one, and you now deny me my reward."
He then took up his bow and departed, but having learnt
which way the foresters must take at their return home, he
repaired to the place where he had left his merry men, and,
consulting together, they resolved to lie in ambush in the
road. After a while they saw the foresters approaching,
shouting and singing, because they had brought off the
king's prize; but when Robin Hood and his men presented
themselves in battle array, their mirth was quickly changed
into terror and amazement. At first they made a show of
resistance, but finding the number of their adversaries to be
more than treble their own, they threw down their arms and
begged for mercy. "You said I was no archer," cried Robin
Hood; "now say so again, and let him that chooses it fly
for his life, and see if my arrows can overtake him." "We
beg for mercy," cried the foresters; "lo! here is the prize
that you won, and the wager of twenty crowns." "Well,"
said Robin, "as you submit quietly, I will grant you your
lives, but you shall not escape without some reward for your
deeds." He and his men then stripped them of their clothes,
leaving them no covering but their trousers, and having cut
off their hair and their ears, daubed their faces with a mixture
of yellow and red; afterwards they bound their hands,
and tied a large pair of antlers on each of their heads, and
in this most ridiculous state drove them back into the town,
telling them if they offered to return they should not escape
with their lives. As soon as they entered the streets the
whole place was in an uproar, and, what with the barking
of a hundred dogs, the squalling of women, and hooting of
boys and men, there was such a hubbub as never before had
been known in the town of Nottingham.
Robin Hood and Little John. Being an Account of their
First Meeting, and how their Acquaintance
and Friendship began, with their Merry Reception in
When bold Robin Hood was about twenty years old he
happened to meet with a jolly stranger, whom he afterwards
called Little John. This man, though called little, was a
lusty young blade; his limbs were large, and his person
seven feet high. Wherever he went people quaked at his
name, and he made all his enemies to fly before him. 'Twas
thus their acquaintance began:—
Robin and his men had built, in Sherwood Forest, a strong
and secret bower, so artfully contrived and hidden among
the woods, that none but themselves could ever find them
out, and to which they retreated in cases of need. Here
Robin once continued fourteen days with his merry bowmen,
and then he said to them—"Tarry a while in this
grove, my brave men; we have had no sport for these many
long days, therefore, I will wander abroad a short way to
seek some amusement. But do you be attentive, and hear
whenever I blow an alarm with my loud bugle horn, for by
this means I will let you know if I want your assistance."
After he had strayed some time near a brook, he espied a
tall and lusty stranger coming towards him. They happened
to meet on a long, narrow wooden bridge, and neither of
them would give way to let the other pass. Robin Hood at
length, being enraged, drew an arrow from his quiver, and
threatened to shoot at the stranger's breast. "You dare
not," said the other, "for if you offer to touch the string, I'll
beat out your teeth and tumble you into the brook. You
see I have nothing but a staff in my hand, and none but a
coward would offer to fight with weapons so different."
"The name of a coward," said Robin, "I scorn; I will
therefore lay aside my bow and arrows and take a stout
staff to prove thy manhood." The stranger accepted the
challenge, and the sport was quickly begun. At first Robin
gave the man such a stroke that it made his sides ring. The
other said, "I must pay you for this, friend, and give you as
good as you send, for as long as I am able to handle a staff
I scorn to die in your debt." He then gave Robin so hearty
a knock on the crown, that the blood ran trickling down to
his ears. Robin now engaged more fiercely, and laid on his
blows so thick and fast, that he made his adversary's coat
smoke as if it had been on fire; but the stranger waxing
most furious and strong, at length gave Robin such a terrible
side-blow, that it quite beat him down and tumbled him
into the brook. Then, in laughter, he called out to his
fallen foe, "Prithee, where art thou now, my good fellow!"
"Why, faith," said Robin, "I swim with the tide, as every
man should do." He now swam along to the bank, and
pulled himself out by a thorn, and then said to the conqueror,
"Thou art a brave soul, I will contend no longer
He then took up his horn and blew such a blast with it
as made the hills echo all around. Presently they saw coming
hastily down the hillside a band of brave archers,
clothed in a livery of green. They quickly came up to
Robin Hood, and Will Stuckley (their leader) cried out,
"Pray, what is the matter, good master? why, you seem wet
to the skin!" "No matter for that," said Robin, "the man
that stands by has, in fighting, tumbled me into the brook."
"If that be the case," said his men, "he shall not escape
without a good ducking in the same stream." "Not so, my
brave men," said Robin Hood, "he is a stout, hearty fellow,
that fought me fairly. My friend," said he to the stranger,
"pray be not afraid, for no harm shall befall thee; all these are
my bowmen, that come at my call, and if thou wilt live with
me, and be one of them, thou shalt quickly put on such a dress
as theirs; we will teach thee the use of the bow to shoot the
fat deer, for we live gloriously, without any restraint, and
fear not the laws." "Then here is my hand," replied the
stranger, "I'll serve thee with a willing mind, for I perceive
you are all brave, hearty fellows. My name is John Little, I
am a man of some skill, and at all times will play my part
"His name shall be altered," said Will Stuckley, "I like
not the sound of John Little, his name shall be called Little
Robin Hood and the Butchers, with his Comical Behaviour
to the Sheriff of Nottingham.
One day as Robin Hood was taking his walk through the
forest, he happened to behold a jolly butcher, sitting between
his hampers, on a stout young mare, going to sell his meat
at market. "Good morrow, honest fellow," said Robin;
"prithee, what food hast thou in thy hampers, and from
whence comest thou? for I seem to have a liking to thy
company." The butcher replied, "No matter from whence
I come, master, nor where I dwell; you may see that I am
a butcher, and am going to Nottingham to sell my meat."
"Wilt thou sell thy meat to me?" said Robin; "tell me the
price of it altogether; also, what thou wilt have for the
mare that carries thee, and all thy other accoutrements; we
will not differ about the cost, for I would fain be a butcher
for once." "The price of my meat and the price of my
mare," said the butcher, "shall be twenty good marks; and
I think they are nothing too dear." Robin agreed, and set
out to Nottingham to begin his butcher's trade; and when
he came thither, took up his inn next door to the sheriff's
house. When other butchers began to open their shops he
opened his; but was at a loss how to sell his meat, being so
young a butcher; however he was determined not to be
undersold, and he found customers plenty. When the other
butchers could not sell a joint Robin's trade went on briskly,
and no butcher could match him; for he sold more meat for
one penny than others could do for five. He sold his meat
so fast that the butchers of Nottingham were at a stand to
know who this bold fellow was. "Surely," said they, "he is
some prodigal that has sold his father's land; and is thus
sporting away his money." They then, stepped up to him
to make acquaintance. "Come, brother," said they, "we
are all of one trade, let us go and dine together; the sheriff
has provided a treat for the butchers to-day; and you must
go with us." "Agreed," said bold Robin, "may that butcher
be hanged that can deny the request of his brethren."
After dinner the sheriff said to Robin, "Hast thou any
cattle or horned beasts to sell, my good fellow? if thou hast
I would fain buy them of thee." "Yes, that I have, Master
Sheriff," said Robin; "I have eight or ten score of horned
beasts that I long to have sold, and they are fat and fair."
The sheriff then saddled his dappled grey horse and set out
with Robin Hood to behold his horned cattle, taking with
him plenty of gold to complete his bargain. When they
came to Sherwood Forest the sheriff began to be apprehensive
of some danger, and trembled for fear, saying, "Heaven
defend us from a wonderful bold man that is called Robin
Hood, who plays a thousand wicked pranks in this country,
and empties the pockets of every rich man he meets." They
had not gone much farther before they beheld an hundred
head of fat deer that came tripping along the road; and
then Robin cried out, "Look here, Master Sheriff, behold my
herd of horned beasts; how like you their colour and their
make? they seem fat and fair to the eye." "What dost
thou mean, fellow?" said the sheriff; "I wish I was safe
out of this forest, for I like not thy company." "Then will
you not buy?" said Robin Hood; "however, since you came
hither to buy my cattle, you must pay whether you take
them or not." He then put his horn to his mouth and blew
a loud blast with it. Quickly Little John and his company
appeared, and said, "Pray, what is your pleasure, good
master?" Said Robin, "I have brought the sheriff of Nottingham
to eat with you to-day, and I hope you will make
him right welcome." "He is welcome, kind master," said
John; "but I hope he will honestly pay for cooking." Robin
now bade the sheriff dismount, and, taking his mantle from
his back, quickly told out his gold; then he took him to his
bower and feasted him well; afterwards he set him again on
his dapple grey horse and brought him back through the
wood. "Commend me to your wife at home, my kind sir,"
said Robin; so he turned and went laughing away.
Robin Hood and Allen Adale, with his Generous Behaviour
to Two Distressed Lovers.
As bold Robin Hood one day was standing in the forest
just under the green oaken tree, he espied a gallant young
man, clothed in scarlet and white, as gay as a lark, who
came tripping along the road singing a roundelay. He
seemed in great haste and quickly was out of sight. Next
morning as Robin Hood stood in the same place he beheld
the same young man coming over the plain, but his carriage
was totally changed; he now passed slowly along and his
head hung drooping upon his breast. Little John stepped
towards him, to know who he was, but when the young man
saw him coming he bent his bow and said, "Stand off, thou
bold forester; what wouldest thou have with me?" "You
must come before our master," he replied, "who is standing
under the green oaken tree; come without delay and no
harm shall befall thee." And when he was come before
Robin Hood, Robin said to him, "Hast thou any money to
spare for my merry men and me? Come, answer without
fear." "Indeed I have no money to spare," said the young
man; "I have but five shillings and a little gold ring, and
this ring I have kept for these seven long years to present
to my bride on my wedding day. Yesterday I should have
married the maid that I love, but she was chosen to be an
old knight's wife, and taken from me by force; therefore my
heart is nearly broken?"
Robin Hood now set out, with fifty stout archers in his
train, nor did they stop till they came near to the church
where Allen should have been married. He then concealed
his men while he went boldly into the church. "What dost
thou here, bold man?" said the bishop. "I am a merry
harper," said Robin, "as good as any in the north." "O,
welcome then," said the bishop, "for that music is my delight."
Presently there came in a wealthy old knight leading
a young damsel by the hand, of a fair though sorrowful
countenance, dressed in her glittering attire. "This is not
a fit match," said bold Robin Hood, "the bridegroom is
much too old and uncomely; but since I am here, and the
bride is prepared, she shall now choose her own mate."
Robin then applied the horn to his mouth, and blew twice
and thrice with it, at the sound of which his fifty stout
bowmen came leaping over the churchyard, and the first
man was Allen Adale, who gave bold Robin his bow. "This
is thy true lover," said Robin; "come, take her, and be
married before we depart." "That never shall be," said the
bishop; "thy speech is too bold, and the law of our country
requires that they be three times asked in the church." Robin
Hood then pulled off the bishop's rich apparel, and put it
upon Little John, and made him appear like a priest. "By
my faith," said Robin, laughing, "that clothing becomes thee
well; thou now lookest like a man and a bishop; therefore
begin thy office." When Little John went to the desk the
people began to laugh and seemed to enjoy the joke; he
asked them full seven times over to make the banns sure,
lest three times should not be enough. "Who gives this fair
maid to Allen Adale for a wife?" said Little John. "I give
her to him with all my heart," said Robin Hood, "and he
that dare to oppose, or take her away from her spouse, shall
buy her dearly."
Thus ended this merry wedding, and the new married
pair returned with Robin Hood to Sherwood bower.
Robin Hood and his Kinsman. Showing how he met and
fought with a Stranger, who afterwards proved to
be his Cousin Scarlet.
As Robin walked about the forest one day he met with a
comely young man, dressed in a doublet of silk, with scarlet
hose, travelling boldly along with a stout bow in his hand.
A herd of fat deer happened to be feeding not far distant,
which, when the stranger saw, he bent his bow, and shot the
best of them through the heart. "Well shot, well shot,"
said Robin Hood, "thy aim was good and sure; I like a bold
archer well; and if thou wilt be one of my comrades, and
live in my bower, I will treat thee with noble entertainment,
and pay thee well besides." "Go, talk with thy grandame,"
said the stranger, "and make no such wild offers to me, or
else I shall use thee somewhat rudely." "Thou hadst better
be quiet," said Robin, "for if thou shouldest offer to make an
assault, thou wilt dearly repent of the deed; my arm is not
weak, and thou mayest see that I carry a bow; besides,
though I am now alone, should I blow an alarm with my
loud bugle-horn, I should quickly have at my command a
hundred brave men." "I defy all thy power," said the other,
"and if thou offerest to touch thy horn, my good broad-sword
shall cut it in two, and strike thee to the dust." Bold Robin
Hood then bent his stout bow, and stood ready to shoot at
his foe. The stranger also took his strong bow and as
readily stood on his guard. "Prithee, let us hold our hands,"
said Robin Hood, "for if we attempt to shoot, one of us
must infallibly die; let us now lay aside our bows and try
each other's skill with bucklers and good broadswords."
These rivals in skill then fought stoutly and boldly, and
many a hard blow resounded upon their bucklers. They
aimed their strong blows above and below, from the head
to the feet, but neither of them could make the other give
way. Robin Hood at length gave the stranger such a mighty
stroke that it made the fire fly from his eyes, and almost
deprived him of his senses. "I hope to give thee a blow,"
said the stranger, "that shall shame all the rest, and put an
end to the fray." Then presently, taking good aim with his
sword, he struck Robin upon the head with such force, that
the blood soon appeared and ran trickling down his cheeks.
"By my faith," said Robin Hood, "I must now beg for
quarter; prithee, my brave fellow, tell me who thou art, and
what is thy name, for I love and respect a brave man." The
stranger answered, "I was born and bred in the town of
Maxfield, and my name is Gamewell; I am forced to fly
from home and to hide myself for having killed my father's
steward, who had falsely accused me; and I came to this
forest to seek a bold uncle of mine, who goes by the name
of bold Robin Hood." "Art thou then a cousin of bold
Robin Hood's?" answered he; "had I known it before, our
fight would have been sooner done." "On my life," said the
stranger, "I am his first kin, and son to his mother's second
brother, who now lives at court with the king, and for gallant
deeds he performed in Palestine he is soon to be made
a noble peer." When Robin heard this he embraced him
with great joy, and soon let him know that he himself was
his uncle Robin Hood. They then set out for the green
shady bower, and met Little John by the way.
Robin Hood and Bishop of Hereford. Robin Hood in
Distress changes Clothes with an old Woman to Escape from
the Bishop, whom he afterwards takes Prisoner, and
obliges him to sing Mass.
Robin Hood and all his men were now outlawed, because
they had broken the forest laws (which were very severe),
and had killed the king's fat deer.
As Robin walked out one fine summer's day, when the
fields were pleasant and green, and the birds sang sweetly in
the bushes, he was tempted to wander beyond the skirts of
the forest, far away from his bower; and as he was thinking
of going back he was espied by the proud bishop of Hereford,
who was passing along with a great company. "Oh,
what shall I now do?" said Robin to himself. "If the
bishop should take me I shall be hanged without mercy."
Then Robin turned nimbly about and ran with full speed to
the house of an old woman whom he knew. "Good woman,"
said Robin, "I pray you let me in, for yonder is the bishop
and all his men, and if I am taken, I must die." "Why,
who art thou," said the old woman, "that comest hither in
such a fright?" "I am Robin Hood," he replied; "canst
thou not recollect me?" "I think I now do," said the old
woman, "and if thou art even Robin Hood, I will provide
for thy safety and hide thee from the proud bishop and his
company." "Then give me thy gown and thy female attire,"
said Robin, "and put thee on my livery of green: give me
also thy distaff and spindle, and take my arrows and bow."
When Robin Hood was thus arrayed he went forth without
fear, and returned to his men in the wood. When Little
John saw him thus dressed, coming over the forest, he cried,
"Behold, who is yonder, that seems approaching this way;
the old woman looks like a witch, and I will send an arrow
to meet her." "Hold thy hand, hold thy hand," said Robin
Hood, "I am thy master in disguise, and this habit I was
forced to put on to escape from a strong enemy who had me
Now, in the meantime, the bishop went to the old woman's
house, and with a loud, furious voice, cried, "Bring that
traitor, Robin Hood, that I may take him along with me
and make him pay the forfeit of all his bad deeds." The
old woman then came out dressed like Robin, and the bishop
placed her upon a grey steed, while he rode along laughing
for joy that he had seized upon bold Robin Hood. But as they
were riding through the forest in which their road lay, the
bishop espied a hundred tall men, stout and brave, coming
out of the wood, with their arrows in their hands. "Oh,
who are all these bowmen?" said the bishop, "and who is
that man that leads them towards us so boldly?" "In good
faith," said the old woman, "I think it is bold Robin Hood."
"Then who art thou," said the bishop, trembling with fear.
"I am only a poor old woman, proud bishop," said she:
"hast thou any occasion for me now?" Robin Hood coming
up, took the bishop by the hand, and placing him upon
the stump of a tree made him tune his voice and sing a full
mass to all the company; afterwards they brought him
through the wood, and having set him upon his horse with
his face towards the tail, they charged him for ever after to
pray for Robin Hood, and putting the tail in his hand, bid
Robin Hood and the Three Yeomen. Robin delivers Three
Yeomen from Nottingham Gallows, who were going
to be Hanged for Killing the King's Deer.
As Robin Hood wandered about the fields one day he met
a fair lady who came weeping along the road in great distress.
"Oh, why do you weep so pitifully," said Robin, "and
what is the cause of your great distress?" "I weep," she
replied, "for the sorrowful fate of three brothers, the bravest
and dearest of men, who are all condemned to die." "What
church have they robbed?" said Robin, "or what parish
priest have they killed? or have they in treason been caught
against the rightful king?" "Woe is me!" said the lady,
"for my brothers must die, and only for killing the king's
fallow deer." "They shall not die," said bold Robin Hood;
"therefore go your way quickly home, and I will hasten to
Nottingham for the sake of your three hapless brothers."
Robin Hood then set out to Nottingham, and in his way
met with a poor beggar man, who came walking slowly and
mournfully along the highway. "What news, my old
man?" said Robin, "what news dost thou bring from the
town?" "Oh! there is weeping and wailing in Nottingham
town," cried the old beggar man, "for the sake of three yeomen
who are condemned to die, for they are greatly beloved."
The beggar had a tattered old coat upon his back which
was neither green, yellow, nor red, but some of every colour;
and Robin Hood thought it would be no disgrace, for once,
to be in the beggar's dress. "Come, pull off thy coat, my
old beggar," said he, "and thou shalt put on mine, and
thirty shillings beside I will give thee to buy bread and
beer." When Robin was thus arrayed, away he went to the
town, and when he came thither he soon found the sheriff
and his men, and likewise the three sorrowful yeomen who
were going to die. "One favour I humbly beg," said bold
Robin Hood to the sheriff, "that I may be the hangman
when the three yeomen are to die." "'Tis granted with free
goodwill," said the sheriff; "therefore go and prepare thyself
for thine office, for they have but few hours to live."
Robin then returned to his brave band of archers, whom
he brought and placed in ambush near the field where the
gallows was fixed; afterwards going again to the sheriff, the
three yeomen were led to the appointed spot. "Now, begin
thine office, my jolly hangman," said the sheriff, "for these
yeomen no longer must live; and thou shalt have all their
good clothing, and all their money besides."
Then Robin mounted the gallows, with his horn in his
hand, and he made it sound loud and shrill, when quickly
came marching over the field a hundred and more of his
faithful bowmen, all clothed in green. "Whose men are all
these," said the sheriff, "that come marching so boldly this
way?" "Oh, these are all Robin Hood's men," said he, "and
they are come to fetch me, and likewise to take the three
yeomen, who are going to die." "Oh, take them, pray take
them, without more ado," said the sheriff; "for there is not
a man in all Nottingham that can do the like of thee."
Robin Hood and the Tinker of Banbury.
In summer time when the leaves were green and birds
sang merrily upon every tree, Robin Hood set out to Nottingham
in disguise, and as he went along the road he overtook
a jolly tinker. Robin greeted him kindly, and after
some discourse, said, "Tell me whence thou comest, my jolly
fellow, and in what town thou wast bred, for I hear there
is sad news in Nottingham, and when thou knowest it thou
may not choose to go thither." "I come from Banbury,"
said the other, "where I was born and bred, and am a tinker
by trade; now tell me the news thou hast heard." "My
news is only this," said Robin, "two tinkers were yesterday
set in the stocks for drinking ale and strong beer." "If
that be all," said the tinker, "I value not your news a farthing;
for in drinking good ale and beer I am sure never to
be outdone, and resolve to have my share; and if I may
judge by your looks, you often take a good part." "Now,"
said Robin Hood, "tell me what news has come to thy ears,
for, as thou travellest from town to town, thou canst never be
in want of good stories." "All the news that I lately have
heard," said the tinker, "relates to a bold outlaw who is
called Robin Hood; the king has given out warrants to apprehend
him, and I have one in my pocket to take him,
whenever I can find him; and if thou canst tell me where
he is, and assist me to seize him, it will make us rich men,
for a hundred pounds, or more, will be our reward." "Let
me see the warrant," said Robin, "that I may know if it be
good, and I will do the best that I can to assist thee in
taking him this very night." "My warrant I shall not let
thee see," said the tinker, "for I dare not trust it out of my
As soon as they came to Nottingham they went to a good
inn, and calling for strong ale and wine, the tinker drank so
much that he forgot what he had to do, so that at night
Robin made haste away, taking the tinker's warrant, and
left him in the lurch to pay all the reckoning. When the
tinker awoke in the morning and found that his comrade
was gone, he called for the host and said, "I had a warrant
from the king that might have done me good, for it was to
take a bold outlaw called Robin Hood; but now my warrant
is stolen away from me, and I have not money enough to
pay the score, for the man that came with me last night is
fled away; therefore tell me what I have got to pay, and I
will leave my tools with thee in pledge till I return."
The tinker then went his way, and soon learnt in the town
that the only way to find out bold Robin Hood was to seek
him in the parks, killing the king's deer. Away then he
went, and made no delay till he found Robin Hood chasing
the deer through the woods. "What bold knave is that,"
said Robin, "that comes so freely to hinder my sport." "No
knave am I," cried the tinker, "and that you soon will know
to your cost; which of us have done wrong my crab-tree
shall decide." The tinker and Robin then fought manfully,
and the fray lasted three hours, or more, but at length the
tinker thrashed Robin's bones so sore, that he made him cry
out for peace. "One favour I have to beg," said Robin
Hood, "and I pray thee to grant it me." "The only favour I
will grant," said the tinker, "is to hang thee on a tree."
But while the tinker turned round, Robin blew his horn, at
the sound of which Little John and Will Scarlet quickly appeared,
and said, "What is the matter, dear master, that
you look so forlorn?" "Here is a tinker standing by," said
Robin, "that has thrashed my bones sore." When they
heard this they were going to seize him by the throat, but
Robin said, "Let our quarrel now cease, that henceforth we
may be friends with the tinker, and he with us; and if he
will consent to be one of us, I will yearly give him fifty
pounds, as long as he lives, which he may spend in the way
which he likes best." So at last the tinker consented, and
went along with them to their bower.
Robin Hood's Death.
And now I must bring my stories to a close, and the unhappy
death of valiant Robin Hood.
Robin fell ill, and because he required to be treated with
skill, he went to Kirkley Abbey, where they sent for a
monk to bleed him, and this monk being eager to get the
reward that King Henry had set upon Robin Hood's head,
most treacherously bled him to death.
Thus he that never feared a sword or a bow, or any man
that lived, was basely killed, in letting of blood, and died
without a friend to close his eyes. As soon as his men heard
of his death they were filled with grief and dismay, and fled
away in haste. Some of them crossed the seas and went
to Flanders, some to France, and some to Spain and Rome.
Robin, Earl of Huntingdon,
Lies underneath this marble stone;
No archer ever was so good—
His name it was bold Robin Hood.
Full thirty years, and something more,
These northern parts he vexed sore.
Such outlaws as he, in any reign,
May England never see again.