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Robin Hood / ( )

Robin Hood /

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Robin Hood / :

Robin Hood /

Robin Hood /

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Robin Hood /

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Under his rule, England was a prosperous country. It was a land of plenty and his subjects were happy. There was work and food for everyone. He was like a father to his nation.
In those days, pious Christians joined the Crusades to spread the word of Christ around the world. King Richard was a very religious man. In 1191 he decided to go for the Crusades. Before he left, he appointed a Regent to rule in his name. He did not trust his brother Prince John, who was not only a cruel man, but had only Norman friends. The Normans hated the Saxons, and King Richard feared than his Saxon subjects would suffer under the Prince.
Prince John was furious with his brother. He had hoped to be chosen the Regent, after which he could have become the king by some means or the other. Now he plotted with his Norman friends to seize the throne. He was determined to become the king.
In the meantime, he amused himself with sports, music and the arts. Jousting was one of his favourite sports. It was a match in which two knights carrying lances and wearing heavy armour would ride towards each other at great speed, each trying to throw the other off his horse. The knight who managed to remain seated on his horse was declared the winner.
One such tournament was arranged in the town square of Nottingham. The cobbled streets of the town were decorated with gaily coloured buntings, fluttering from the tops of the towers and houses. A magnificent royal box had been set up to seat Prince John and his guests. Tiered wooden seats were provided for spectators. Stables had been set up to house the horses of the participating knights. Attendants of the participants carried the banners of their knights, with their emblems displayed in the centre. Their work was to repair the lances or armour of their masters when required.
A very large crowd gathered on the day of the tournament. Most of them were Saxons. Trumpeters heralded the arrival of Prince John, Sir Guy, the Bishop, the Sheriff and other guests, all dressed in silks and velvet. Once they were seated, hasty preparations were made to start the tournament. A horseman in armour rode up and took his position. He was the scorer the one who recorded the names of the participants, the score of the matches, the wins and defeats. Musicians took their places behind him with their instruments. Their work was to loudly celebrate a win or a brilliant stroke. A trumpeter stood in attention, to trumpet the start of the matches.
A long strip of land at the centre of the town square had been cleared and swept for the match. All eyes were on this area.
The trumpeter heralded the start of the tournament, and the first pair of knights on horseback took up their positions on either side of the jousting area. Then they galloped towards each other at great speed. Their lances clashed with a deafening clang. The crowd went mad with excitement. Prince John and his guests sat on the edge of their chairs, as excited as the rest of the spectators. One knight fell off his horse, the lance having pierced him right through his armour. The victor, a Norman, was congratulated by the Prince.
The tournament continued. Match after match was played and was won by Norman knights. There was great excitement in the royal box. The crowd had become very quiet. Before the final match, a herald announced, The next match will be between the valiant Norman knight, Sir Guy of Gisbourne and the Saxon knight, Sir Robin of Locksley.
The two knights, who were wearing helmets with the visors down, held their lances under their arms and galloped towards each other. They met with such terrific force, that their lances broke, but both men remained seated on their horses.
Armed with new lances, the knights again galloped towards each other. This time Sir Robins lance hit Sir Guy with such force that he was thrown off his horse.
A loud applause rose from the spectators when Sir Robin was declared the winner. He left his horse in the care of his attendant, Will Scarlet, and walked to the royal box to receive his prize. Lady Marian was the Maid of Honour, who would hand out the prize to the winner.


The Princes attention was drawn to a messenger who had come into the royal box.
Sire, said the man, King Richard has been taken captive by King Leopold of Austria. I have been instructed to tell you that he will be released on the payment of a ransom of 30,000 gold marcs.
King Richard is a prisoner! Prince John exclaimed.
He hastily called a meeting of the Norman knights and left the royal box with Lady Marian and his Norman friends.
Robin and Will Scarlet received the news with heavy hearts. They were sure that the Prince would not pay the ransom. If the Prince took charge of the affairs of the kingdom, the life of the Saxons would become very difficult indeed.
Robin was right. The Prince and the Normans went out of control. The Saxons were robbed and beaten up and their homes set on fire. Many were thrown into prison without trial. Robin, a Saxon himself, could not tolerate this. He was determined to help them.
One day, Sir Guy was riding through Sherwood Forest, when he saw a deer shot by an arrow. Sir Guys men caught the poacher, treated him roughly and dragged him before the knight.
What is your name, you Saxon dog? Sir Guy asked angrily. Dont you know that its death to kill the kings deer?
The man stammered, My name is Much-the-millers son. Id rather die than go hungry. All Saxons go hungry because of Prince John and his men.
Sir Guys face became red with anger. He raised his sword to strike down the man. Suddenly a black arrow whizzed through the trees at great speed and flung the raised sword to the ground.
Sir Guy was stunned. Two men on horseback, one dressed in green and the other in red, rode towards him. Sir Guy recognised Sir Robin.
What is the meaning of this? he demanded.
This man was only speaking the truth. Is that a crime these days? Are you going to kill him for that?
You know as well as anyone that its death to kill the kings deer.
Robin fixed an arrow to his bow and aimed it at Sir Guys heart.
Is it death even if I present it at Prince Johns banquet table tonight?
Sir Guy was too angry to reply and rode off with his men.
Oh, thank you, Master, said the poacher.
My man, be more careful the next time.
Master, please let me stay with you. I know you are Sir Robin of Locksley.
But I dont need you.
The man refused to go. Robin finally agreed and along with Will, they rode off towards Nottingham Castle.


Prince John, in his splendid costume and jewels, sat with his friends around him and plotted ways to seize the throne. He and Sir Guy spoke in whispers. The Prince wanted to proclaim himself king. He knew the Saxons would oppose him. There might even be a rebellion. He was not afraid because he knew that his soldiers would crush the rebellion. He was determined to become king, and with King Richard held in captivity, this was his chance.
He was furious when Sir Guy told him that Robin had shot the kings deer. Sir Guy had decided to lie about the poacher.
How dare he? roared the Prince. He shall be hanged for this.
Barely had he spoken, when Robin, carrying the dead deer on his shoulder, burst in through the door, walked up to the banquet table and laid the deer in front of the Prince. Then he bowed grandly.
The Prince seemed to like Robins boldness and invited him to the banquet. Then he asked, Do you think, as the Saxons do, that we make them pay high taxes?
You not only make them pay high taxes, you make them work harder, pay them less and beat or hang them without trial, Robin replied boldly. I think you should know that we will not tolerate this much longer.
What? You walk in uninvited and then dare to speak to me like this! The tax we are collecting is to pay the kings ransom, and that money has to be paid to me.
Why? You are not the Regent.
I have declared myself the Regent.
Then you all are traitors, Robin said to the Normans. The money you are collecting is not for King Richards ransom. Im sure of that.
What can you do about it? Sir Guy asked.
I will do what any loyal subject of King Richard would do, was Robins answer. I will lead a revolt. I will not let Saxons be killed. Hear this all of you. This is a warning. From now on, for every Saxon killed, a Norman will be killed. And we will carry on the fight till we can live as free men, not in fear and at the mercy of you and your men.
For a moment there was stunned silence. Robin casually sat down. A spear whizzed past him as the Normans shouted, Kill him! Kill him!
In a flash, Robin took out his bow. The men stepped back, for Robin was famous for his archery. Robin leapt to a window. He knew Will and Much would be waiting below the window with his horse. He jumped down on to the saddle of his horse and the three men sped away.


Which way did the traitor go? they asked the guard, their horses rearing to go.
The frightened guard pointed towards the forest. The knights galloped away in the direction of the forest, determined to kill Robin.
Robin heard the galloping horses and the angry shouts of the riders. He fixed a black arrow on his bow and released it. It whizzed through the trees and hit a Norman knight. He fell, but the others galloped on. Robin shot another arrow and another Norman knight fell.
Frightened by this, the rest of the Normans fled the forest. Robin rode back to Sherwood Forest.
Now we cannot return to your castle, grumbled Will.
Well sleep on this soft green grass under the clear blue sky, was Robins happy reply. Feel the grass. Its so fresh and cool.
Then he called Much and said to him, Go to the village and get Crippen, who is famous for the arrows he makes. Also, tell all Saxons who have been oppressed by Normans to come to the Gallows Oak in Sherwood Forest tomorrow night.
Robin had chosen to live in Sherwood Forest for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a very big forest with many clear streams. Secondly, it was so thickly wooded that a whole army could hide in its leafy shelter and never be discovered. It was an ideal place for Robin and his men.
Thirdly, Robin chose Sherwood because it stood between Prince Johns Nottingham Castle on one side, and Kenilworth Castle of Sir Guy and the Black Cannons Abbey of the Bishop on the other. Men and soldiers had to ride through Sherwood, whether on work or pleasure, every time they visited one another.
The day after Robins escape from Nottingham Castle, he and Will woke up while it was still dark. They walked quietly through the forest that was to become their home. It was beautiful, thought Robin. He loved the greenery, the fresh air and the freedom which he knew he would enjoy here. They watched as night gave way to dawn, and the sky turned orange. They sat down to admire the beauty of the sky and then moved on.
Suddenly, Robin stopped and pointed to a big, fat man sitting on the trunk of a tree that was lying across the stream. He held a long wooden pole.
What a fat pole! whispered Will.
What a fat man! exclaimed Robin.
Robin walked along the trunk of the tree towards the man.
Let me pass, man.
I will not, not without a fight, said the fat man.
Will, still on the bank of the stream, made a long pole from a branch and threw it to Robin. The two men fought with their poles for a long time. Suddenly the mans pole hit Robins head and he fell into the water.
The man smiled and helped Robin out. Sitting on the trunk of the tree, Robin shook off the water from his ears and asked, Who are you?
I am John Little. And you?
Once Robin of Locksley, now Im Robin Hood.
Robin of Locksley? I came here to meet you.
I want to join your company, thats why. Will you take me?
Yes, I will. We need persons like you, who can wield a wooden pole as well as you do. Meet Will Scarlet.
So John Little joined Robin Hoods band and came to be known as Little John.


A death warrant was prepared. The Prince signed it and gave it to Sir Guy, saying, Declare Robin an outlaw, seize his castle and his lands. Issue orders that he must be killed on sight!
But the Normans failed to catch Robin, even though their spies were everywhere.
He has killed so many of my men, wailed Sir Guy, yet he roams free. Why? He terrifies my men with his bow and arrows. Why cant we get him?
How can anyone catch him, when every Saxon is his friend? They protect him, said one knight.
Im told that his outlaws are fearless and very loyal to him. It is said that they rob the rich and give to the poor. We Normans say that Robin kills Normans, but we have been informed that he does not kill just any Norman who crosses his path. He kills only those who have plundered Saxons. Im told that he is very gentle with women and children and protects them at all times, said another.
Whats this I hear? Sir Guy exclaimed. You seem to be singing the praises of Robin, and here we are thinking of ways to kill him!
But no one knows where he is, said the Sheriff. I have tried with my best men, believe me, but we just cant find him.
I have sent so many spies to the forest, said one of the guards. We all know that he and his men are there. I have also sent my spies to all the Saxon villages, but not one has returned with any news. The Sheriffs spies have failed too, havent they?
The Sheriff nodded his head.
Yes, they have all failed. Persons who think that the Normans have wronged them have joined Robin Hood, as he calls himself now, in Sherwood Forest. They all live there, but where in the forest? Even the forest seems to shelter them.
After a while, the Sheriff continued, Well get him! I shall myself command the troops to guard Lady Marian and you, Sir Guy, when you pass through the forest to Kenilworth Castle. And, he added, thumping the table with his fist, I pray that I can catch that rascal by the scruff of his neck!
Enough of your boasting, said Sir Guy rudely. I am carrying Robins death warrant. His castle and lands have been seized. Hes an outlaw now. Where can he hide?
Barely had he spoken when a black arrow whizzed through the window, pierced the warrant and pinned it onto the table.
There was absolute silence.


Robin spoke, loud and clear, This is an assembly of free Englishmen, loyal to King Richard, God bless him. He was good to us, and we were well-clothed, well-fed when he ruled. There was work for everyone. But since he left for the Crusades, Prince John and his Norman friends have given us nothing but hunger, beatings and prison. They have to be stopped. We will have to stop them. Do you all agree?
Aye! Aye!
I have a plan, continued Robin. This forest can feed, clothe and shelter all of you who wish to stay here. Those who are with us, raise your weapons.
Every man raised his weapon.
Then kneel!
The men knelt down.
Robin asked, Do you vow to rob the rich to feed the hungry, clothe and shelter those in need, and protect women and children, be they Normans or Saxons?
We do.
Remember that with this vow you agree to fight to death if necessary. We shall keep this country free for our king, King Richard of the Lion Heart.
We solemnly swear, the men said in chorus.
From that day, Robin Hood and his men began what the Normans called a terrifying reign. Those who had suffered at the hands of the Normans, blessed him and his men, for Robins help was quick and sure.
One day Robin, Much and Little John were walking through the forest. They found a very fat monk lying by the stream, fast asleep. The monk stirred, then awoke with a start and rushed to pick up his sword. Robin was faster and pointed his sword at the monk.
Im a poor monk, the man cried. I have nothing.
I know, Robin told him. We are outlaws and live in this forest. We need a priest, a holy man like you amongst us.
There are so many things only a priest can do like carry me across the stream.
When the monk readily agreed, Little John became uneasy. Much whispered to him, I dont trust that man. He is Friar Tuck of Fountain Abbey, one of the best swordsmen in England. Why has he agreed to join us?
The four men walked down to the stream and began to wade across it. Robin was shocked when, mid-stream, the monk threw him into the water and drew out his sword. Robin swiftly swam away and drew out his own sword. He stared at the monk. Why had the man tried to kill him?
Before he could think of an answer, the monk had rushed at him, sword raised high above his head. A long, furious fight began, that went on and on.
Much and Little John had quickly waded across the stream and stood watching.
The two men fought on, waist-deep in water. Both men were tiring, but refused to give up. The swords continued to clash against each other with lightning speed. Finally the monk threw up his arms and cried, You must be Sir Robin of Locksley! I havent seen a better swordsman!
Thank you, answered Robin. I was Robin of Locksley, but now Im Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest and these are my men. May I ask who you are? You dress as a monk, yet, you are an excellent swordsman.
I am Friar Tuck. I learnt to use the sword much before I became a monk. I just keep in practice, thats all.
Before the men could start on their journey, Will galloped towards them at great speed. He seemed out of breath.
I have great news for you, he said to Robin, but he stopped when he saw the monk.