Copyright
Louis Rhead.

Bold Robin Hood and his outlaw band; their famous exploits in Sherwood forest online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryLouis RheadBold Robin Hood and his outlaw band; their famous exploits in Sherwood forest → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


PM^fcp



BBB 3






THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



GIFT OF

Richard Petrie




ROBIN HOOD



*yy'*Mii*i4iT^



RICHARD CCEUR DE LION




BOLD

ROBIN HOOD

and

<HisOtit/CKi)8cind



THEIR FAMOUS EXPLOITS
IN SHERWOOD FOREST



PENNED AND PICTURED
BY

LOUIS RHEAD



HARPER & BROTHERS

NEW YORK AND LONDON




BOOKS ILLUSTRATED BY
LOUIS RHEAD

LAMB'S TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE

GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES

ARABIAN NIGHTS

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS

HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES

ROBIN HOOD

ROBINSON CRUSOE

SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON

TREASURE ISLAND

TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL DAYS

HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK
[ESTABLISHED 1817]



COPYRIGHT. 191:
MINTED IN THE




CHAPTER PACK

AUTHOR'S PREFACE xi

I. ROBIN HOOD His BIRTH AND BOYHOOD i

II. WHY ROBERT FITZOOTH CHANGED His NAME ... 7

III. ROBIN THE OUTLAW 22

IV. ROBIN HOOD FIGHTS LITTLE JOHN 32

V. WILL GAMWELL BECOMES WILL SCARLET 41

VI. ROBIN HOOD WINS THE GOLDEN ARROW 52

VII. How ROBIN HOOD MET FRIAR TUCK 61

VIII. ROBIN MEETS Two PRIESTS UPON THE WAY ... 77

IX. ALLAN-A-DALE GETS His BRIDE 84

X. How ROBIN HOOD DID CHEAT THE TINKER .... 98

XI. LITTLE JOHN AND THE SHERIFF'S COOK 113

XII. ROBIN TRIES His HAND SELLING MEATS 132

XIII. ROBIN HOOD AND ARTHUR THE TANNER 140

XIV. ROBIN AND THE BISHOP OF HEREFORD 149

XV. ROBIN HOOD AND THE BEGGAR 162

XVI. ROBIN SELLS POTS AND DISHES 174

XVII. ROBIN AND SIR GUY OF GISBOURNE 186

XVIII. ROBIN RESCUES WILL STUTELY 201

XIX. ROBIN AND SIR RICHARD o' THE LEA 210

XX. ROBIN MEETS MAID MARIAN 227

XXI. KING RICHARD VISITS ROBIN 236

XXII. ROBIN WINS THE QUEEN'S PRIZE 245

XXIII. ROBIN PURSUED BY THE KING 261

XXIV. ROBIN RESCUES THE WIDOW'S SONS 272

XXV. ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH AND BURIAL . 281



905404




RICHARD COEUR DE LION Frontispiece

A MAP TO SHOW THE SITUATION OF ROYAL HUNTING FORESTS

WHERE ROBIN HOOD LIVED A.D. Il6o-I247 Page I

ROBERT WOULD SHOOT WITH HIS OWN LITTLE BOW AT THE

SQUIRRELS " 3

"REMEMBER, THOU BOASTER, 'TIS THY HEAD is WAGERED" . " 13

ESPIED A GROUP OF FORESTERS AND TWO CAPTIVES ..." 25

ROBIN HOOD " 29

"PRITHEE, GOOD FELLOW, WHERE ART THOU NOW?" ... " 33

LITTLE JOHN " 37

"GOD-A-MERCY, GOOD FELLOW," QUOTH ROBIN, "FAIN WOULD

i KNOW THY NAME" ., . . .... " 45

MASTER WILL SCARLET " 49

AN ARROW CAME WHIZZING THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW . . " 57

THE FRIAR TOOK ROBIN ON HIS BACK . " 65

FRIAR TUCK " 71

"PRAY MORE EARNESTLY," QUOTH ROBIN " 81

"WE FIND THEE BEDRAGGLED AND DOWNCAST" " 87

ALLAN-A-DALE " 95

YE TINKER " IQI

WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE HE REACHED OVER AND DREW

FORTH THE WARRANT " IO7

HE SMOTE ERIC FULL AND SQUARE ON HIS SKULL " 117

ERIC O* LINCOLN " 121

YE SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM " 129

"NAY," QUOTH ROBIN, "FEAR NOTHING, FOR i WILL DO THEE

NO HARM" " 135

ARTHUR-A-BLAND, YE TANNER "14!

[ix]



ILLUSTRATIONS

"MY FREEDOM HAVE I WON THROUGH MY STAFF, AND NOT BY

GRACE OF THEE" Page 145

YE PROUD BISHOP OF HEREFORD " 153

"HERE'S MONEY ENOUGH, MASTER," QUOTH LITTLE JOHN, "TO

PAY THE RECKONING" " 157

YE CRUEL BEGGAR "165

THE BEGGAR FLUNG THE MEAL IN THEIR FACES " 169

"l GIVE ONE EXTRA, NO MATTER HOW LARGE OR SMALL " . " 179

YE SHERIFF'S WIFE " 183

GUY OF GISBOURNE " 189

ROBIN DROVE HIS BLADE THROUGH SIR GUY*S BODY ..." 197

WILL STUTELY " 2O3

LITTLE JOHN HASTILY CUT WILL STUTELY's BONDS . . . . " 207

SIR RICHARD O* THE LEA " 213

PRIOR VINCENT " 219

"l COME TO PRAY THEE THAT THOU WILT GIVE ME A LITTLE

TIME OF GRACE" " 223

MAID MARIAN " 229

ROBIN HOOD AND MARIAN IN THEIR BOWER "233

RICHARD CCEUR DE LION " 237

THE KING BEGAN TO ROLL UP HIS SLEEVE "24!

YE GOOD QUEEN ELEANOR " 249

ROBIN WINS THE QUEEN'S PRIZE " 257

PRIOR WILLIAM PROVIDES A FEAST FOR THE KING AND THE

BISHOP " 267

"COME, CHANGE THINE APPAREL FOR MINE, OLD MAN*'. . . " 273

ROBIN SHOOTS HIS LAST SHAFT " 283



AUTHOR'S
PREFACE




IN this version of the Robin Hood tradition I have endeavored
to group the various incidents in logical progression, and to
connect them as intimately as possible with the customs and
manners of the age in which it is supposed he lived the latter
part of the twelfth century. Moreover, I have made character-
portraits of all the principals in the legend, paying particular
attention to historical accuracy in the matter of dress, arms, and
other accessories. It is a singular circumstance that the name
of an outlawed individual of the twelfth century should remain
as well known as that of Richard the Lion-hearted or the Black
Prince; that the echoes of his personality should be preserved
in household ballad and fireside tale; that his words and deeds
continue to be a familiar part of the Anglo-Saxon heritage
all this is pretty conclusive proof that Robin Hood was an actual
living personage. There is nothing mythical about the achieve-
ments of the renowned outlaw; and though medieval English
historians never mentioned this notable man, it was probably
his avowed enmity to churchmen that caused the monks to refrain
from rendering homage to his virtues. History, in former times,
was written by none but monks.

It is remarkable that one of the best stories of Robin Hood
was written and illustrated by an American artist who had never
set foot on English soil. In this latter respect I am more for-
tunate, having been born in the same country as Robin Hood
and having passed much of my early life in roaming about what
still remains of Sherwood and Need wood forests. I have en-
deavored to retain the quaint, simple, yet direct style of the
ballads, which are surprisingly unaffected and natural in their



AUTHOR'S PREFACE

appeal to the youthful mind. These ballads supply the material
for all but three of the twenty-five chapters, and the titles are
printed on the contents-page. The first three chapters are
original matter, because no ballad describes and history is silent
concerning the childhood and youth of Robin Hood. Most of
the earlier versions begin with Robin at his meeting with Little
John, when he was a full-fledged outlaw of middle age. Some
of the ballads are very ancient one, in particular, was printed
in black letter by Wynken de Worde about 1489, and is now
preserved in the public library at Cambridge. Others are of
later date, belonging to the time of Henry the Eighth, and none
are later than the period of Charles the Second.

The map of Royal hunting forests is intended to show only
those places which are connected with Robin Hood's life, omitting
the New Forest and other local stretches of woodland lying in the
south of England. It is stated that England at this period was so
covered with woods that a squirrel could hop from tree to tree
across the entire country. The great Watling Street and Ermine
Street roads, built by the Romans eight hundred years before, were
still in fair condition in the time of Robin Hood. This map will
doubtless be of greater service to American boys than to their
English cousins, for no English boy is ignorant of the where-
abouts of Sherwood and Nottingham.

Finally, I have derived Robin Hood's character and personality
from the testimony of the old balladists and strolling minstrels
who composed their rimes to be sung to their harps, and who
pictured him as the most humane and princely of outlaws. Robin
Hood and his merry men were not ordinary cutthroats, but a
band of merry fellows without guile, bold and fair in fight,
courteous and kind to women and children, bountiful to the poor
and needy, and striking hard at cruelty and tyranny in a period
when there were few to take the part of the poor and unlettered
man. My Robin Hood will be found a brave, virtuous, and
tactful leader, who wisely tested in personal combat each new
recruit before he was allowed to join the band, and who was loved
and revered by all for his many excellent and amiable qualities.




ROBIN HOOD HIS BIRTH AND BOYHOOD

The Earl of Huntingdon, nobly born,

That came of noble blood,
To Marion went, with good intent,

By the name of Robin Hood.

N the reign of King Henry II., there lived
on an estate near Locksley Village in Eng-
land, about two miles from the famous old
town of Uttoxeter in the county of Staf-
ford and almost on the borders of the Royal
Forest of Needwood, a nobleman named
\ William Fitzooth, Earl of Huntingdon. Earl
William was a valliant warrior, and, a man of honorable fame.
Like so many of the knights and nobles in that troubled age, he
spent most of his time away from home, fighting in the great wars
and petty quarrels that were always afoot in England or France,
in Normandy, Ireland, or Wales. But during the brief intervals
of peace he would return to take his ease in his strong castle, and
at such times it was his chief delight to train and teach his sturdy
young son, Robert.

When the boy was but five years old his father would lift him
up to ride before him upon the great black war-steed through the
i [i]




ROBIN HOOD

winding fern-clad paths of Needwood Forest. Next to fighting,
the Earl loved hunting whether with hawk or hound, with bow
or boar-spear and he always took Robert with him when he rode
forth into the forest with his woodsmen and his dogs. Often the
boy would shout with glee when he saw his father pierce with his
spear and pin to earth a savage wild boar which the great dogs
had driven right into their path. Again, gazing down a leafy
glade with his sharp blue eyes, he would see a great hart come
leaping, affrighted by the baying hounds. Then his father, who
had been waiting with tense muscles and steady nerves, would
raise his mighty bow of yew and draw the arrow clear to its head,
the feathers brushing his cheek. The next instant, with a low
hum, the cloth-yard shaft would be loosed, and the stag, smitten
through the shoulder, would rise on its haunches and fall to its
knees in death. Ever and anon Robert would shoot with his
own little bow at the squirrels chattering and playing among
the leafy branches. He was a good marksman even then, and
it gladdened his father's heart to see him bring down many a
squirrel, martin, or sable.

In those far-off days there was no attending school. The
children of the rich barons were trained from their earliest years
in war-like exercises and in the rules of chivalry. They were
taught to be brave and honorable and courteous, to ride and to
fight. Robert grew apace into a tall youth, well skilled in the use
of arms. Yet he knew little of the great world. He bore him-
self as befitted an earl's son, with gentleness and yet with au-
thority, but he had been reared almost in the forest, among
yeomen and peasants. Of them he learned many good lessons
to give and take hard knocks, to be plain and downright in speech,
to value every man at his true worth, to despise a coward and to
love a brave, honest fellow, even if he were of low degree. De-
spite his noble birth he was a yeoman at heart.

Up to his twelfth year he enjoyed a merry, care -free life,
saddened only by his father's long absences. Boy as he was, he
practised with broadsword and quarter-staff, for in those days
a man who had not learned to defend himself in his youth would

[2]




ROBERT WOULD SHOOT WITH HIS OWN LITTLE BOW
AT THE SQUIRRELS



ROBIN HOOD

have been in a sorry plight. But of all weapons he loved the
long-bow best. He fashioned his own bows and arrows and used
them constantly, so that ere long none had a steadier hand nor
a truer eye. In knowledge of woodcraft he became the equal of
the old foresters. He had a nimble wit, loved good company
and manly sports. He was always present at the fairs and merry-
making in Locksley and the near-by villages when the sturdy yeo-
men wrestled or fought with quarter-staves for prizes a ram, a
bull, a real gold ring, or a pipe of wine. But he was never so
happy as when treading the soft, loamy, flower-bedecked sward
of Needwood Forest that stretched for miles and miles, thickly
covered with beech, oak, and chestnut trees.

When Robert was twelve years old news came of his father's
death. Earl William had joined the army with which King
Henry was invading Ireland. Landing at Waterford, the King
marched toward Dublin to fight a famous native prince named
Strongbow, and at the storming of one of the enemies' castles
Earl William was struck down headlong from his horse by a
barbed and poisoned arrow which pierced his eye through a
crevice in his helmet. Thus Robert became an orphan, for his
mother had died the previous year.

It was at about this time that Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of
Canterbury, was foully murdered. King Henry had reached the
age of forty, and had four sons living: Henry, in his eighteenth
year; Richard, in his fifteenth; Geoffrey, in his fourteenth; and
John, in his sixth. These were the sons of the good Queen
Eleanor.

Robert wept grievously when he heard that his father was dead,
and for many days he moped and felt bitterly toward the whole
world. But at length he took courage, telling himself that from
now on he must play the man. As time passed, his grief became
less sharp; but there was a budding fear in his heart lest his uncle,
now his guardian, might not prove true to his trust. This fear
proved all too well advised, for his uncle was a reckless spend-
thrift, insomuch that by the time the boy was fifteen his castle
and broad lands, his serfs and cattle, were all forfeited. So



ROBIN HOOD

Robert's guardian, to escape the trouble in store for him, wended
his way to the wars, leaving his poor young nephew to follow in
the same path or perchance to seek an asylum in the forests of
his own and the neighboring counties of Nottingham, Derby, and
York.




II



WHY ROBERT FITZOOTH CHANGED HIS NAME

There are twelve months in all the year,

As I hear many say;
But the merriest month in all the year

Is the merry month of May.

N a bright May morn in the year of our Lord
1175 a youth strode with a rapid gait along
the woodland path on the very edge of Need-
wood Forest. Though it was yet early in the
day, the sun was high and warm; the throstle
and blackbird sang; the cuckoo from a high
tree-top called the double note to his mate,
and all the woods seemed glad. The bright yellow-green buds
were just bursting forth, and the forest sward as far as eye could
reach was a huge carpet of bright azure bluebells that gave a rich
odor to the fresh morning air. The tall, comely lad, straight as a
young birch, was scarce fifteen winters old, yet it needed but a
glance to see that he was a proper youth, stout and bold. He had
the keen, bright eyes of a falcon, full, rounded lips, and a com-
plexion deeply tanned His auburn curls hung down from be-
neath a jaunty cap of buckskin dyed old-gold, on the side of
which, pointing upward, was buckled the middle tail-feather of a
cock pheasant. He wore a deep olive-green jerkin, or coat, and
the hose on his well-formed limbs fitted like'a glove. His tough




ROBIN HOOD

yew long-bow hung from his shoulder in such a manner as to be
instantly ready when needed. His beautifully embroidered
quiver, chock-full of cloth-yard arrows, was slung from his
shoulder-belt on the left side. From the red girdle drawn
tightly round his waist hung a sheathed dagger or hunting-knife,
and below it, fastened by straps, was a leathern pouch containing
all his worldly possessions his mother's rosary and gold ring, as
well as food for the day, some sliced brawn and wheaten cakes.
He had already gone many miles from Locksley, for he had been up
and on his way before the break of dawn and now he was nearing
Tutbury town, where he would rest awhile at the old Dog and
Partridge Inn for a bite and a sup with the host, one of his father's
old retainers. Thus far he had not met a living soul. Following
the river Dove, which joins the Trent below Tutbury, he would
strike the Trent valley, due east for Nottingham town.

Presently he marched up High Street and stepped in through
the little tap-room door of the white-and-black oak-timbered inn.

" Hulloa, whither goest thou, Master Robert, dressed all so gay
and fine?" cried mine host of the Dog and Partridge.

"Knowest not, good Giles," quoth Robert, "of the shooting-
match to be held on the morrow at Nottingham town ? I go to
shoot, with other stout yeomen, for the prize a silver bugle."

"Saist thou so?" quoth Giles. "Marry, and it may be thou
shalt win, for thou canst speed an arrow with the best; I know
it well."

Then the worthy Giles called to his good dame for a hearty
meal of the very best nothing was too good for their master's
gallant son. So they brought a leveret pasty, some fried trout,
fresh from the river a can of ale was too mean and coarse, it
must be a flagon of wine, and that of the finest quality. So
young Robert set to and made a hole in that pie that pleased
the good dame mightily.

"Now, my brave young master," quoth Giles, "if thou thinkest
to reach Nottingham town by nightfall thou must e'en away.
The path is easy enow to Repton, but poor and boggy at Sawley;
from thence, see to it thou leavest the Trent valley and dost

[8]



ROBIN HOOD

follow the upper woodlands. Then strike through the King's
forest for the town."

So Robert parted from the worthy host and hostess of the Dog
and Partridge with a full stomach and great store of good wishes.
He marched down High Street of Tutbury town, looking neither
to the right nor to the left while the townsfolk paused to stare
at him and the maids glanced at him coyly, for they thought
they never yet had seen a youth so fair. As for Robert, he
recked nothing of their looks, for his mind was all set on the
shooting-match at Nottingham. His head buzzed with pleasant
thoughts of the morrow, and his blood coursed briskly through
his veins. Soon he was swinging along the forest path at a five-
mile gait. Yet as he jogged on he was alert, always prepared
at a moment's notice to defend himself should harm threaten.

He knew full well his skill with the long-bow, for many a time
in friendly trials he had beaten the King's foresters and the men
of Locksley town. It was his fifteenth birthday on the morrow;
he would surely win a prize, and after that he pondered, and
said to himself, "Mayhap I shall become one of the King's
foresters, then an archer of the King's guard, and so off to the
wars like my father before me."

Just at that moment he espied through the leafy glade a small
herd of hinds and young fawns led by a broad-antlered hart
passing slowly by beneath the branches of a wide-spreading oak.
Instantly his bow was in place, with an arrow nocked to the
string; but ere he loosed the shaft, he paused, bethinking himself
of what might follow should he kill. He was sorely tempted, for
he wished to make trial of his skill before to-morrow's test;
yet in a moment he sighed, lowered his arm, and slacked his bow.
He knew the penalty of killing the King's royal hart; not a soul
that could bend a bow in all merry England but knew it well.
Better by far to be shot and killed outright than to have both
eyes torn from their sockets, and the forefinger and thumb cut
from each hand, then to be led into the forest to bleed and die.
And so, as he strode along, right glad was he that he had with-
held his hand from slaying of the King's deer.

[9]



ROBIN HOOD

The sun was now at high noon. Since breakfast at the Dog
and Partridge he had covered over twenty miles, and his stomach
began to crave food. He made up his mind to rest awhile at
the first spring or brook that lay in his path. At last he came to
a little sparkling rivulet tumbling down a bank-side, where sat a
swineherd.

"Ho, good fellow/' cried Robert, "what news in these parts?"

"None that I wot of, my master, save that there be a shooting-
match in the town on the morrow, and many, like thee, do
wend their way to it. May our Good Lady grant thee a
prize!"

"Grammercy, good man, so I trust she may."

Thereupon Robert sat down beside him, and taking from his
pouch the brawn and bread, gave half to the swineherd, who
swallowed it like a hungry dog, in big gulps, long before the youth
had finished his share. Then, lying down at full length, Robert
took deep draughts of the cold, clear water, and again started on
his journey.

He had chosen to go afoot rather than on horseback because
he could thus more easily make his way through the tangled mass
of bracken and underbrush in the deep forest. This jaunt of
over twoscore miles taxed his strength not at all, for he was both
strong of limb and light of heart, and now, within half a dozen
miles of Nottingham town, he was almost as fresh as when he
had started. He had just heard the baying of a hound, when,
as he came forth from a thick, tangled path to the open, a loud,
angry voice shouted: "Hold! Who goes there that so boldly
marches through the King's deer forest?"

The lad turned aside and saw a band of foresters seated and
standing around the trunk of a giant oak. There were fifteen
of them. All except the speaker were ranged round an immense
dish of venison pie. Near by stood some barrels of ale. Leather
wine-bottles and drinking-cups of horn lay scattered about on
the mossy soft ground. All were dressed alike from top to toe
in Lincoln green.

"My name is Robert Fitzooth," quoth Robert, boldly, "and
[to]



ROBIN HOOD

I go to the shooting-match at Nottingham town, where I hope to
win a prize, and then, perchance, become a king's forester."

At this answer there arose a loud, boisterous laugh from every
throat.

"What!" cried the chief, "thou a king's forester! Alack! thou
couldst no more pull that man's bow hanging at thy back than
could a blind kitten! Why, thou young whippet, our company
needs men who can shoot a shaft from a goodly bow, not a babe
just weaned."

"Do but look at him, comrades," said one, holding up a can of
ale. "I trow a babe so young could never draw that string so
much as the shake of a lamb's tail."

"I'll hold the best of you twenty marks," Robert made answer,
turning red with anger and shame, "that I'll hit a mark at a
hundred rods."

"Wilt thou so?" jeered the chief forester. "Lay down thy
money."

"Alas! I have no money."

"0-ho! This young braggart hath no money, yet he layeth a
wager! Come now, my fine bantam cock, what wilt thou wager?"

At this, young Robert went clean beside himself with rage.

"I lay my head against thy purse," he cried, in a choking voice,
"whatsoe'er it contain, much or little, for there down the glade,
fivescore rods away, I see a herd of deer, and by the leave of
our Lady I will cause a hart to die."

"Done with you, and there is my purse," roared the angry
forester; and he threw his purse on the ground among a pile of
bows and quivers.

Now were the herd of deer in full view to all, led by a lordly
hart which, turning, seemed to sniff some danger in the air.
Then Robert took up his great bow, deftly tightened the string,
nocked his shaft, and drew it to his ear.

"Remember, thou boaster, 'tis thy head is wagered," cried one;
but Robert's hand trembled not, nor did his eye waver.

Twang! and the broad goose-feathered arrow flew through the
air like a skimming swallow. All the foresters bent forward

[nj



ROBIN HOOD

eagerly, for they saw at once that the lad was no boaster, 3ut as
good an archer as themselves. The entire band were struck
dumb when they beheld the great stag leap in the air, drop to its
knees, and roll over with the arrow clean through its heart.

"The wager is mine," cried Robert, "were it a thousand
pounds." Then he stepped forward to reach the purse.

"Hold!" thundered he who had lost the wager, amid the angry
shouts of the foresters. "The wager thou hast won is the loss
of thy two eyes. Thou art an outlaw, for thy arrow smote the
King's hart royal, and all who do so must die." Thereupon they
moved forward to encircle the lad, who stood ready with another
shaft nocked to his bow-string.

"Beware!" said he. "He that draws one step nigher shall die
like the hart."

Thereupon, one of the foresters, who had stealthily crept be-
hind him, leaped upon his back and bore him to the ground with
an arm about his neck.

"Now, by Saint Dunstan!" quoth the chief, "this naughty
fellow hath come in happy time. Our good Sheriff of Nottingham
hath taken it much amiss that we have brought no deer-stealers
to court, though many have been killed from the coverts. He
hath twice hinted that our time is spent in revels and feastings
beneath the greenwood-trees. This likely tale, forsooth, will now
be mended."

At this all laughed, and Robert's heart sank, but he lay still,
biding his time. One lazy fellow, whose head was humming with


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryLouis RheadBold Robin Hood and his outlaw band; their famous exploits in Sherwood forest → online text (page 1 of 15)