In the rude days of King Rich-ard and King John there were many great

woods in England. The most famous of these was Sher-wood forest, where

the king often went to hunt deer. In this forest there lived a band of

daring men called out-laws.

They had done something that was against the laws of the land, and had

been forced to hide themselves in the woods to save their lives. There

they spent their time in r
aming about among the trees, in hunting the

king's deer, and in robbing rich trav-el-ers that came that way.

There were nearly a hundred of these outlaws, and their leader was a

bold fellow called Robin Hood. They were dressed in suits of green,

and armed with bows and arrows; and sometimes they carried long wooden

lances and broad-swords, which they knew how to handle well. When-ever

they had taken anything, it was brought and laid at the feet of Robin

Hood, whom they called their king. He then di-vid-ed it fairly among

them, giving to each man his just share.

Robin never allowed his men to harm any-body but the rich men who

lived in great houses and did no work. He was always kind to the poor,

and he often sent help to them; and for that reason the common people

looked upon him as their friend.

Long after he was dead, men liked to talk about his deeds. Some

praised him, and some blamed him. He was, indeed, a rude, lawless

fellow; but at that time, people did not think of right and wrong as

they do now.

A great many songs were made up about Robin Hood, and these songs were

sung in the cot-ta-ges and huts all over the land for hundreds of

years after-ward.

Here is a little story that is told in one of those songs:--

Robin Hood was standing one day under a green tree by the road-side.

While he was lis-ten-ing to the birds among the leaves, he saw a young

man passing by. This young man was dressed in a fine suit of bright

red cloth; and, as he tripped gayly along the road, he seemed to be as

happy as the day.

"I will not trou-ble him," said Robin Hood, "for I think he is on his

way to his wedding."

The next day Robin stood in the same place. He had not been there long

when he saw the same young man coming down the road. But he did not

seem to be so happy this time. He had left his scarlet coat at home,

and at every step he sighed and groaned.

"Ah the sad day! the sad day!" he kept saying to himself.

Then Robin Hood stepped out from under the tree, and said,--

"I say, young man! Have you any money to spare for my merry men and


"I have nothing at all," said the young man, "but five shil-lings and

a ring."

"A gold ring?" asked Robin.

"Yes?" said the young man, "it is a gold ring. Here it is."

"Ah, I see!" said Robin: "it is a wedding ring."

"I have kept it these seven years," said the young man; "I have kept

it to give to my bride on our wedding day. We were going to be married

yes-ter-day. But her father has prom-ised her to a rich old man whom

she never saw. And now my heart is broken."

"What is your name?" asked Robin.

"My name is Allin-a-Dale," said the young man.

"What will you give me, in gold or fee," said Robin, "if I will help

you win your bride again in spite of the rich old man to whom she has

been promised?"

"I have no money," said Allin, "but I will promise to be your


"How many miles is it to the place where the maiden lives?" asked


"It is not far," said Allin. "But she is to be married this very day,

and the church is five miles away."

Then Robin made haste to dress himself as a harper; and in the

after-noon he stood in the door of the church.

"Who are you?" said the bishop, "and what are you doing here?"

"I am a bold harper," said Robin, "the best in the north country."

"I am glad you have come," said the bishop kindly. "There is no music

that I like so well as that of the harp. Come in, and play for us."

"I will go in," said Robin Hood; "but I will not give you any music

until I see the bride and bridegroom."

Just then an old man came in. He was dressed in rich clothing, but was

bent with age, and was feeble and gray. By his side walked a fair

young girl. Her cheeks were very pale, and her eyes were full of


"This is no match," said Robin. "Let the bride choose for herself."

Then he put his horn to his lips, and blew three times. The very next

minute, four and twenty men, all dressed in green, and car-ry-ing long

bows in their hands, came running across the fields. And as they

marched into the church, all in a row, the fore-most among them was


"Now whom do you choose?" said Robin to the maiden.

"I choose Allin-a-Dale," she said, blushing.

"And Allin-a-Dale you shall have," said Robin; "and he that takes you

from Allin-a-Dale shall find that he has Robin Hood to deal with."

And so the fair maiden and Allin-a-Dale were married then and there,

and the rich old man went home in a great rage.

"And thus having ended this merry wedding,

The bride looked like a queen:

And so they re-turned to the merry green wood,

Amongst the leaves so green."