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Tales of romance; based on tales in the Book of romance online

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LIBRARY

OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA



Class





(See p.



SLAGF1D PURSUES THE WRAITH.



TALES OF ROMANCE



BASED ON TALES IN THE
BOOK OF ROMANCE EDITED
BY ANDREW LANG



WITH 4 COLOURED PLATES AND 15 OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS
BY H. J. FORD AND LANCELOT SPEED



Of THE

UNIVERSITY

'''




LONGMANS, GEEEN, AND CO,

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON

NEW YORK, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA

1907



CONTENTS.

PAGE

The Story of Kobin Hood 1

Wayland the Smith 49

Some Adventures of William Short Nose .... 88

The Sword Excalibur 13V

How Grettir the Strong Became an Outlaw . . . 140

Death of Grettir the Strong 145



204921



ILLUSTRATIONS.



COLOUEED PLATES.

Slagfid pursues the Wraith over the Mountain . Frontispiece

The Chariot of Freya Face page 16

Alix kisses Rainouart 113

Arthur meets the Lady of the Lake and gets

the Sword Excalibur 128



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT.

Robin Hood's meeting with Little John . . . Page 5

The Knight repays the Four Hundred Pounds . 16
" When the Sheriff saw his own vessels, his appetite

went from him " ,,26

Friar Tuck upsets Robin Hood ,,29

"There is pith in your arm," said Eobin Hood . 41

Robin Hood shoots his Last Arrow . . . 47

The Three Women by the Stream . . . 54

Wayland mocked by the Queen and Banvilda . 78

The Merman warns Banvilda in vain . . . 83

Vivian's Last Confession ,,94

The Captives William Short Nose rides to the

Rescue ,,100

The Lady Alix stays the wrath of William Short

Nose ,,113

The Lady Gibourc with Rainouart in the Kitchen . 124

Rainouart stops the Cowards 129

Grettir overthrows Thorir Redbeard . . 144



UN! Y )

'



THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD.

PART I. *"

MANY hundreds of years ago, when the Planta-
genets were kings, England was so covered with
woods, that a squirrel was said to be able to hop
from tree to tree from the Severn to the Humber.

It must have been very different to look at
from the country we travel through now; but
still there were roads that ran from north to
south and from east to west, for the use of those
who wished to leave their homes, and at certain
times of the year these roads were thronged with
people.

Pilgrims going to some holy shrine passed
along, merchants taking their wares to Court,
Abbots and Bishops ambling by on palfreys
to bear their part in the King's Council, and,
more frequently still, a solitary Knight, seek-
ing adventures.

Besides the broad roads there were small



2 THE STORY OF EOBIN HOOD.

tracks and little green paths, and these led to
clumps of low huts, where dwelt the peasants,
charcoal-burners, and ploughmen, and here and
there some larger clearing than usual told that
the house of a yeoman was near.

Now and then as you passed through the
forest you might ride by a splendid abbey, and
catch a glimpse of monks in long black or white
gowns, fishing in the streams and rivers that
abound in this part of England, or casting nets
in the fish ponds which were in the midst of
the abbey gardens. Or you might chance to
see a castle with round turrets and high battle-
ments, circled by strong walls, and protected
by a moat full of water.

This was the sort of England into which
the famous Robin Hood was born. We do
not know anything about him, who he was,
or where he lived, or what evil deed he had
done to put him beyond the King's grace.
For he was an outlaw, and any man might
kill him and never pay penalty for it.

But, outlaw or not, the poor people loved
him and looked on him as their friend, and
many a stout fellow came to join him, and
led a merry life in the greenwood, with moss



THE STOEY OF ROBIN HOOD. 3

and fern for bed, and for meat the King's deer,
which it was death to slay.

Peasants of all sorts, tillers of the land,
yeomen, and as some say Knights, went on
their ways freely, for of them E/obin took no
toll ; but lordly churchmen with money-bags
well filled, or proud Bishops with their richly
dressed followers, trembled as they drew near
to Sherwood Forest who was to know whether
behind every tree there did not lurk E/obin Hood
or some of his men ?

THE STOKY OF EOBIN HOOD.*-

PART II.
THE COMING OF LITTLE JOHN.

ONE day Eobin was walking alone in the wood,
and reached a river which was spanned by a
very narrow bridge, over which one man only
could pass. In the midst stood a stranger,
and Eobin bade him go back and let him go
over. "I am no man of yours," was all the
answer Eobin got, and in anger he drew his bow
and fitted an arrow to it.

" Would you shoot a man who has no arms
but a staff?" asked the stranger in scorn; and
with shame Eobin laid down his bow, and un-



4 THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD.

buckled an oaken stick at his side. "We will
fight till one of us falls into the water," he said ;
and fight they did, till the stranger planted a
blow so well that Eobin rolled over into the
river.

"You are a brave soul," said he, when he
had waded to land, and he blew a blast with
his horn which brought fifty good fellows, clad
in green, to the little bridge.

" Have you fallen into the river that your
clothes are wet ? " asked one ; and Robin made
answer, "No, but this stranger, fighting on the
bridge, got the better of me, and tumbled me
into the stream."

At this the foresters seized the stranger, and
would have ducked him had not their leader
bade them stop, and begged the stranger to stay
with them and make one of themselves. " Here
is my hand," replied the stranger, "and my heart
with it. My name, if you would know it, is
John Little."

" That must be altered," cried Will Scarlett ;
"we will call a feast, and henceforth, because he
is full seven feet tall and round the waist at least
an ell, he shall be called Little John."

And thus it was done ; but at the feast Little



THE STORY OF BOBIN HOOD.




6 THE STORY OF EOBIN HOOD.

John, who always liked to know exactly what
work he had to do, put some questions to Robin
Hood. " Before I join hands with you, tell me
first what sort of life is this you lead ? How am
I to know whose goods I shall take, and whose
I shall leave ? Whom I shall beat, and whom I
shall refrain from beating ? "

And Eobin answered : " Look that you harm
not any tiller of the ground, nor any yeoman of
the greenwood no, nor no Knight nor Squire,
unless you have heard him ill spoken of. But
if Bishops or Archbishops come your way, see
that you spoil them, and mark that you always
hold in your mind the High Sheriff of Notting-
ham."

This being settled, Eobin Hood declared
Little John to be second in command to himself
among the brotherhood of the forest, and the
new outlaw never forgot to " hold in his mind "
the High Sheriff' of Nottingham, who was the
bitterest enemy the foresters had.

Eobin Hood, however, had no liking for a
company of idle men about him, and he at once
sent off Little John and Will Scarlett to the
great road known as Watling Street, with orders
to hide among the trees and wait till some



THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD. 7

adventure might come to them ; and if they took
captive Earl or Baron, Abbot or Knight, he was
to be brought unharmed back to Robin Hood.

But all along Watling Street the road was
bare ; white and hard it lay in the sun, without
the tiniest cloud of dust to show that a rich
company might be coming : east and west the
land lay still.

THE STORY OF EOBIN HOOD.
PART III.

LITTLE JOHN'S FIRST ADVENTURE.
AT length, just where a side path turned into
the broad highway, there rode a Knight, and a
sorrier man than he never sat a horse on summer
day. One foot only was in the stirrup, the other
hung carelessly by his side ; his head was bowed,
the reins dropped loose, and his horse went on
as he would. At so sad a sight the hearts of
the outlaws were filled with pity, and Little John
fell on his knees and bade the Knight welcome
in the name of his master.

" Who is your master ? " asked the Knight.

" Robin Hood," answered Little John.

" I have heard much good of him," replied
the Knight, " and will go with you gladly."



8 THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD.

Then they all set off together, tears running
down the Knight's cheeks as he rode, but he
said nothing, neither was anything said to him.
And in this wise they came to Robin Hood.

" Welcome, Sir Knight," cried he, " and thrice
welcome, for I waited to break my fast till you
or some other had come to me."

"God save you, good Robin," answered the
Knight, and after they had washed themselves
in the stream, they sat down to dine off bread and
wine, with flesh of the King's deer, and swans
and pheasants. " Such a dinner have I not had
for three weeks and more," said the Knight.
" And if I ever come again this way, good Robin,
I will give you as fine a dinner as you have given



me."



" I thank you," replied Robin, " my dinner is
always welcome ; still, I am none so greedy but
I can wait for it. But before you go, pay me,
I pray you, for the food which you have had.
It was never the custom for a yeoman to pay
for a Knight."

" My bag is empty," said the Knight, " save
for ten shillings only."

" Go, Little John, and look in his wallet,"
said Robin, " and, Sir Knight, if in truth you



THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD. 9

have no more, not one penny will I take ; nay,
I will give you all that you shall need."

So Little John spread out the Knight's
mantle, and opened the bag, and therein lay
ten shillings and naught besides.

"What tidings, Little John?" cried his
master.

"Sir, the Knight speaks truly," said Little
John.

" Then fill a cup of the best wine and tell
me, Sir Knight, whether it is your own ill doings
which have brought you to this sorry pass."

"For an hundred years my fathers have
dwelt in the forest," answered the Knight,
"and four hundred pounds might they spend
yearly. But within two years misfortune has
befallen me, and my wife and children also."

" How did this evil come to pass ? " asked
Robin.

" Through my own folly," answered the
Knight, " and because of the great love I bore
my son, who would never be guided of my
counsel, and slew, ere he was twenty years old,
a Knight of Lancaster and his Squire. For
their deaths I had to pay a large sum, which I
could not raise without giving my lands in pledge



10 THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD.

to the rich Abbot of St. Mary's. If I cannot
bring him the money by a certain day they will
be lost to me for ever."

" What is the sum ? " asked Eobin. " Tell
me truly."

" It is four hundred pounds," said the Knight.

"And what will you do if you lose your
lands ? " asked Eobin again.

" Hide myself over the sea," said the Knight,
"and bid farewell to my friends and country.
There is no better way open to me."

At this tears fell from his eyes, and he
turned him to depart. " Good day, my friend,"
he said to Robin, " I cannot pay you what I

should " But Robin held him fast. " Where

are your friends ? " asked he.

" Sir, they have all forsaken me since I be-
came poor, and they turn away their heads if
we meet upon the road, though when I was rich
they were ever in my castle."

When Little John and Will Scarlett and the
rest heard this, they wept for very shame and
fury, and Eobin bade them fill a cup of the best
wine, and give it to the Knight.

"Have you no one who would stay surety
for you ? " said he.



THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD. 11

"None," answered the Knight, "but only
Our Lady, who has never yet failed to help me."

"You speak well," said Robin, "and you,
Little John, go to my treasure chest, and bring
me thence four hundred pounds. And be sure
you count it truly."

So Little John went, and Will Scarlett, and
they brought back the money.

"Sir," said Little John, when Robin had
counted it and found it no more nor no less,
" look at his clothes, how thin they are ! You
have stores of garments, green and scarlet, in
your coffers no merchant in England can boast
the like. I will measure some out with my
bow." And thus he did.

"Master," spoke Little John again, "there
is still something else. You must give him a
horse, that he may go as beseems his quality to
the Abbey."

" Take the grey horse," said Robin, " and put
a new saddle on it, and take likewise a good
palfrey and a pair of boots, with gilt spurs on
them. And as it would be a shame for a Knight
to ride by himself on this errand, I will lend you
Little John as Squire perchance he may stand
you in yeoman's stead."



12 THE STOEY OF ROBIN HOOD.

"When shall we meet again?" asked the
Knight.

"This day twelve months," said Eobin,
" under the greenwood tree."

Then the Knight rode on his way, with Little
John behind him, and as he went he thought of
Robin Hood and his men, and blessed them for
the goodness they had shown towards him.

" To-morrow," he said to Little John, " I
must be at the Abbey of St. Mary, which is in
the city of York, for if I am but so much as a
day late my lands are lost forever, and though I
were to bring the money I should not be suffered
to redeem them."

THE STOEY OF EOBIN HOOD.
PART IV.

Now the Abbot had been counting the days as well
as the Knight, and the next morning he said to
his monks : " This day year there came a Knight
and borrowed of me four hundred pounds, giving
his lands in surety. And if he come not to pay his
debt ere midnight tolls they will be ours for ever."

"It is full early yet," answered the Prior,
" he may still be coming."

" He is far beyond the sea," said the Abbot,



THE STOBY OF ROBIN HOOD. 13

"and suffers from hunger and cold. How is
he to get here ? "

" It were a shame," said the Prior, " for you
to take his lands. And you do him much wrong
if you drive such a hard bargain."

"He is dead or hanged," spake a fat-headed
monk who was the cellarer, " and we shall have
his four hundred pounds to spend on our gardens
and our wines," and he went with the Abbot to
attend the court of justice, wherein the Knight's
lands would be declared forfeited by the High
Justiciar.

" If he come not this day," cried the Abbot,
rubbing his hands, "if he come not this day,
they will be ours."

"He will not come yet," said the Justiciar,
but he knew not that the Knight was already at
the outer gate, and Little John with him.

"Welcome, Sir Knight," said the porter.
"The horse that you ride is the noblest that
ever I saw. Let me lead them both to the
stable, that they may have food and rest."

" They shall not pass these gates," answered
the Knight sternly, and he entered the hall
alone, where the monks were sitting at meat,

and knelt down and bowed to them.
III. 2



14 THE STOE? OF ROBIN HOOD.

" I have come back, my lord/' he said to the
Abbot, who had just returned from the court.
"I have come back this day as I promised."

" Have you brought my money ? " was all the
Abbot said.

" Not a penny," answered the Knight, who
wished to see how the Abbot would treat him.

" Then what do you here without it ? " cried
the Abbot in angry tones.

" I have come to pray you for a longer day,"
answered the Knight meekly.

" The day was fixed and cannot be gainsaid,"
replied the Justiciar ; but the Knight only begged
that he would stand his friend and help him in
his strait. " I am with the Abbot," was all the
Justiciar would answer.

"Good Sir Abbot, be my friend," prayed the
Knight again, " and give me one chance more to
get the money and free my lands. I will serve
you day and night till I have four hundred
pounds to redeem them."

But the Abbot only vowed that the money
must be paid that day or the lands be forfeited.

The Knight stood up straight and tall : " It
is well," said he, " to prove one's friends against
the hour of need," and he looked the Abbot full



THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD. 15

in the face, and the Abbot felt uneasy, he did
not know why, and hated the Knight more than
ever. " Out of my hall, false Knight ! " cried he,
pretending to a courage which he did not feel.
But the Knight stayed where he was, and
answered him, "You lie, Abbot. Never was
I false, and that I have shown in jousts and
in tourneys."

" Give him two hundred pounds more/' said
the Justiciar to the Abbot, " and keep the lands
yourself."

"No, by Heaven!" answered the Knight,
"not if you offered me a thousand pounds
would I do it ! Neither Justiciar, Abbot, nor
Monk shall be heir of mine." Then he strode
up to a table and emptied out four hundred
pounds. "Take your gold, Sir Abbot, which
you lent to me a year agone. Had you but
received me civilly, I would have paid you
something more.

" Sir Abbot, and ye men of law,

Now have I kept my day !
Now shall I have my land again,

For aught that you may say."

So he passed out of the hall singing merrily,

leaving the Abbot staring silently after him,

2*



16



THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD.




THE CHARIOT OF FREYA '




THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD. 17

and rode back to his house, where his wife
met him at the gate.

" Welcome, my lord," said his lady,

" Sir, lost is all your good."
" Be merry, dame," said the Knight,

" And pray for Robin Hood.

" But for his kindness, we had been beggars."



THE STOKY OF ROBIN HOOD.
PART V.

AFTER this the Knight dwelt at home, looking
after his lands and saving his money carefully,
till the four hundred pounds lay ready for
Robin Hood. Then he bought a hundred bows
and a hundred arrows, and every arrow was an
ell long, and had a head of silver and peacock's
feathers. And clothing himself in white and
red, and with a hundred men in his train, he
set off to Sherwood Forest.

On the way he passed an open space near a
bridge where there was a wrestling, and the
Knight stopped and looked, for he himself had
taken many a prize in that sport. Here the
prizes were such as to fill any man with envy ;
a fine horse, saddled and bridled, a great white



18 THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD.

bull, a pair of gloves, a ring of bright red gold,
and a pipe of wine.

There was not a yeoman present who did
not hope to win one of them. But when the
wrestling was over, the yeoman who had beaten
them all was a man who kept apart from his
fellows, and was said to think much of himself.

Therefore the men grudged him his skill, and
set upon him with blows, and would have killed
him, had not the Knight, for love of Kobin
Hood, taken pity on him, while his followers
fought with the crowd, and would not suffer
them to touch the prizes a better man had
won.

When the wrestling was finished the Knight
rode on, and there under the greenwood tree, in
the place appointed, he found Robin Hood and
his merry men waiting for him, according to the
,tryst that they had fixed last year :

" God save thee, Eobin Hood,

And all this company."
" Welcome be thou, gentle Knight,

And right welcome to me.

" Hast thou thy land again ? " said Kobin,

" Truth then tell thou me."
" Yea, for God," said the Knight,

" And that thank I God and thee.



THE STORY OF BOBIN HOOD. 19

" Have here four hundred pounds," said the Knight,

" The which you lent to me ;
And here are also twenty marks

For your courtesie."

But Robin would not take the money. A
miracle had happened, he said, and Our Lady
had paid it to him, and shame would it be for
him to take it twice over.

Then he noticed for the first time the bows
and arrows which the Knight had brought, and
asked what they were. "A poor present to
you," answered the Knight, and Robin, who
would not be outdone, sent Little John once
more to his treasury, and bade him bring forth
four hundred pounds, which was given to the
Knight.

After that they parted, in much love, and
Robin prayed the Knight if he were in any
strait " to let him know at the greenwood tree,
and while there was any gold there he should
have it".



20 THE STORY OF EOBIN HOOD.

THE STORY OF EOBIN HOOD.
PART VI.

HOW LITTLE JOHN BECAME THE SHERIFF'S
SERVANT.

MEANWHILE the High Sheriff of Nottingham
proclaimed a great shooting-match in a broad
open space, and Little John was minded to
try his skill with the rest. He rode through
the forest, whistling gaily to himself, for well
he knew that not one of Eobin Hood's men
could send an arrow as straight as he, and he
felt little fear of anyone else.

"When he reached the trysting place he found
a large company assembled, the Sheriff with
them, and the rules of the match were read out :
where they were to stand, how far the mark was
to be, and how that three tries should be given
to every man.

Some of the shooters shot near the mark,
some of them even touched it, but none but
Little John split the slender wand of willow
with every arrow that flew from his bow.

At this sight the Sheriff of Nottingham swore
that Little John was the best archer that ever
he had seen, and asked him who he was and



THE STORY OF EOBIN HOOD. 21

where he was born, and vowed that if he would
enter his service he would give twenty marks a
year to so good a bowman.

Little John, who did not wish to confess
that he was one of Eobin Hood's men and an
outlaw, said his name was Eeynold Greenleaf,
and that he was in the service of a Knight,
whose leave he must get before he became the
servant of any man.

This was given heartily by the Knight, and
Little John bound himself to the Sheriff for the
space of twelve months, and was given a good
white horse to ride on whenever he went abroad.
But for all that he did not like his bargain, and
made up his mind to do the Sheriff, who was
hated of the outlaws, all the mischief he could.

His chance came on a Wednesday when the
Sheriff always went hunting, and Little John lay
in bed till noon, when he grew hungry. Then
he got up, and told the steward that he wanted
some dinner. The steward answered he should
have nothing till the Sheriff came home, so
Little John grumbled and left him, and sought
out the butler.

Here he was no more successful than before ;
the butler just went to the buttery door and



22 THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD.

locked it, and told Little John that he would
have to make himself happy till his lord returned.

Rude words mattered nothing to Little John,
who was not accustomed to be baulked by trifles,
so he gave a mighty kick which burst open the
door, and then ate and drank as much as he
would, and when he had finished all there was
in the buttery, he went down into the kitchen.

Now the Sheriffs cook was a strong man and
a bold one, and had no mind to let another man
play the king in his kitchen ; so he gave Little
John three smart blows, which were returned
heartily. "Thou art a brave man and hardy,"
said Little John, " and a good fighter withal. I
have a sword, take you another, and let us see
which is the better man of us twain."

The cook did as he was bid, and for two
hours they fought, neither of them harming the
other. " Fellow," said Little John at last, " you
are one of the best swordsmen that I ever saw
and if you could shoot as well with the bow, I
would take you back to the merry greenwood,
and Robin Hood would give you twenty marks
a year and two changes of clothing."

"Put up your sword," said the cook, "and I
will go with you. But first we will have some



THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD. 23

food in my kitchen, and carry off a little of the
gold that is in the Sheriffs treasure house."

They ate and drank till they wanted no
more, then they broke the locks of the treasure
house, and took of the silver as much as they
could carry, three hundred pounds and more,
and departed unseen by anyone to Eobin in the
forest.

THE STORY OF EOBIN HOOD.
PART VII.

" WELCOME ! welcome ! " cried Eobin when he
saw them, "welcome, too, to the fair yeoman
you bring with you. What tidings from Not-
tingham, Little John?"

"The proud Sheriff greets you, and sends
you by my hand his cook and his silver vessels,
and three hundred pounds and three also."

Eobin shook his head, for he knew better
than to believe Little John's tale. "It was
never by his good will that you brought such
treasure to me," he answered, and Little John,
fearing that he might be ordered to take it back
again, slipped away into the forest to carry out
a plan that had just come into his head.

He ran straight on for five miles, till he came



24 THE STOEY OF EOBIN HOOD.

up with the Sheriff, who was still hunting, and
flung himself on his knees before him.

" Eeynold Greenleaf," cried the Sheriff, " what
are you doing here, and where have you been ? "

" I have been in the forest, where I saw a fair
hart of a green colour, and sevenscore deer feed-
ing hard by."

" That sight would I see too," said the Sheriff.

" Then follow me," answered Little John, and
he ran back the way he came, the Sheriff follow-


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Online LibraryAndrew LangTales of romance; based on tales in the Book of romance → online text (page 1 of 7)