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Robin Hood Mary Smith    
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Robin Hood

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Robin Hood

A traditional English tale



Over seven hundred years ago there lived a young man called Robert of Locksley. His friends called him Robin.

Robin lived with his mother at Locksley Manor, but his father was a soldier and he was away fighting overseas. The war was in a country where the king, Richard the Lionheart, was fighting an enemy.

While he was overseas fighting in the war, King Richard left his younger brother to rule over England. Richard’s brother was called John but he was not a nice man, in fact he was very greedy. John wanted to have more land and more manors than Richard. So, while land owners, like Robin’s father, were away overseas with the king, greedy Prince John stole their manors and their land.

One day Prince John sent his men to steal Locksley Manor. Robin, his mother and all their workers managed to escape. Robin took his mother to live in safety with her own parents.

Robin was very angry that his father’s home and land had been stolen, so he vowed to get his own back on the greedy men. It saddened him to leave his beloved Marian, who lived nearby, but he went into hiding near Nottingham and lived deep in Sherwood Forest.

Other men came to join Robin and soon there was a band of friends all hiding together. They were known as the Merry Men and they wore clothes coloured green so that they could hide out of sight among the green leaves of the forest.

They all wore green except for Robin’s friend Will. He wore clothes that were red so that he looked like an autumn leaf when he hid. Robin called him ‘Will Scarlet’ because of his red clothes. Will called Robin ‘Robin Hood’ because his jacket had a hood at the back.

All the men who joined Robin were excellent archers – they could fire an arrow perfectly straight and hit a far-off target right right in the centre.

Whenever one of Prince John’s greedy men came along the road that passed by Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men would come out of hiding and capture the man.

‘Come for a meal with us,’ they'd say and they would offer him a delicious meal. At the end of the meal Robin Hood would ask the man to pay for the food then Robin’s men would take the gold and silver from the man’s bags before they sent him on his way again.

The Sheriff of Nottingham got very angry about the thieving that was taking place in his forest, but he could never find Robin Hood and his Merry Men as they were too well hidden.

Robin and his men kept not one penny of the treasure they collected from the greedy men. Instead they shared it with all the poorer people they knew — people who had lost everything when greedy Prince John and his men stole it.

As time went on, other men wanted to join Robin Hood and fight for justice. One of these men was John Little. He was just over two metres tall and could fight brilliantly with a long pole.

‘Your name ought to be John Big because you are so very tall,’ laughed Robin Hood. ‘I shall call you Little John as a joke!’ Everybody else called him Little John too.

Another person who joined the Merry Men was Alan A’Dale. He was a minstrel so he played his music and sang to entertain Robin and his men.

One day a monk called Friar Tuck came to Sherwood Forest looking for Robin of Locksley. There was a young woman with him.

‘Marian!’ exclaimed Robin when he saw them.

Friar Tuck explained:

‘Marian’s father wanted his daughter to marry a rich old man. But Marian was in tears and said that she could not marry this man because she loved another. Her true love is Robin of Locksley. I knew that Robin was hiding in Sherwood Forest so I rescued Marian and brought her here so that she can marry her true love.’

Marion and Robin hugged in delight and Friar Tuck and Marian joined the Merry Men.

Alas, one day terrible news was brought to Robin Hood:

‘King Richard has been captured in a far-off land. His captor will only release the king if a ransom of gold and silver is paid,’ the messenger said, ‘but, Prince John has announced that he will pay not one bronze penny to save his brother’s life and he certainly won’t pay gold or silver for his brother’s freedom.’

‘That’s because he wants to be king of England himself!’ Robin Hood exclaimed in disgust.

However, the Merry Men had an excellent idea. ‘All the poor people we know have been given enough money for everything they need, so the money we still have in our treasure chest can buy King Richard’s freedom.’

So without telling Prince John of their plan, Robin and his men paid the ransom in gold and silver.

Several weeks later an unknown knight rode into Sherwood Forest. He was dressed all in black saying that he was looking for Robin Hood.

‘Who are you?’ Robin demanded.

‘I am the Black Knight,’ came the answer.

But when the knight removed his helmet, Robin recognised the man.

‘King Richard!’ he gasped. Robin bowed low to honour his king. The Merry Men bowed too and Maid Marian curtseyed.

‘I have come to thank you for paying the ransom which earned my freedom,’ said the king. ‘I have heard how my brother, John, failed to rule my kingdom justly. I have learned of his greed and know that he stole people’s lands and homes. I shall deal with him and punish him, but to all of you who lost homes and land, I return those homes and land so that you and your families can live there once again.’

Robin, Marian and all the Merry Men promised their loyalty to their king, the sovereign who was called Richard the Lionheart.

The story of how Robin and his Merry Men were loyal to their king was told and passed down for many generations. This is how, seven centuries later, we still know the story of Robin of Locksley Manor.

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