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Chapter I.

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."

Chapter II.

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.

Chapter III.

Robin Hood and Little John. Being an Account of their First Meeting, and how their Acquaintance and Friendship began, with their Merry Reception in Sherwood Bower.

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 with thee."

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 well."

"His name shall be altered," said Will Stuckley, "I like not the sound of John Little, his name shall be called Little John."

Chapter IV.

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.

Chapter V.

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.

Chapter VI.

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.

Chapter VII.

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 in chase."

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 him begone.

Chapter VIII.

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."

Chapter IX.

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 hand."

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.

Chapter X.

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.