ENGLAND during the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries was slowly taught the value of firm administrative government. In Saxon England, the keeping of the peace and the maintenance of justice had been left largely to private and family enterprise and to local and trading communities. In Norman England, the royal authority was asserted throughout the kingdom, though as yet the king had to depend in large measure upon the co-operation of his barons and the help of the burghers to supply the lack of a standing army and an adequate police. Under the Plantagenets, the older chivalry was slowly breaking up, and a new, wealthy burgher and trading community was rapidly gaining influence in the land; whilst the clergy, corrupted by excess of wealth and power, had strained, almost to breaking, the controlling force of religion. It was therefore natural that in these latter days a class of men should arise to avail themselves of the unique opportunities of the time--men who, loving liberty and hating oppression, took the law into their own hands and executed a rough and ready justice between the rich and the poor which embodied the best traditions of knight-errantry, whilst they themselves lived a free and merry life on the tolls they exacted from their wealthy victims. Such a man may well have been the original Robin Hood, a man who, when once he had captured the popular imagination, soon acquired heroic reputation and was credited with every daring deed and every magnanimous action in two centuries of 'freebooting.'
At one time Robin Hood lived in the noble forest of
[paragraph continues] Barnesdale, in Yorkshire. He had but few of his merry men with him, for his headquarters were in the glorious forest of Sherwood. Just now, however, the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire was less active in his endeavours to put down the band of outlaws, and the leader had wandered farther north than usual. Robin's companions were his three dearest comrades and most loyal followers, Little John (so called because of his great stature), Will Scarlet, Robin's cousin, and Much, the miller's son. These three were all devoted to their leader, and never left his side, except at such times as he sent them away on his business.
On this day Robin was leaning against a tree, lost in thought, and his three followers grew impatient; they knew that before dinner could be served there were the three customary Masses to hear, and their leader gave no sign of being ready for Mass. Robin always heard three Masses before his dinner, one of the Father, one of the Holy Spirit, and the last of Our Lady, who was his patron saint and protector. As the three yeomen were growing hungry, Little John ventured to address him. "Master, it would do you good if you would dine early to-day, for you have fasted long." Robin aroused himself and smiled. "Ah, Little John, me-thinks care for thine own appetite hath a share in that speech, as well as care for me. But in sooth I care not to dine alone. I would have a stranger guest, some abbot or bishop or baron, who would pay us for our hospitality. I will not dine till a guest be found, and I leave it to you three to find him." Robin turned away, laughing at the crestfallen faces of his followers, who had not counted on such a vague commission; but Little John, quickly recovering himself, called to him: "Master, tell us, before we leave you, where we shall meet, and what sort of people we are to capture and bring to you in the greenwood."
"You know that already," said their master. "You are to do no harm to women, nor to any company in which a woman is travelling; this is in honour of our dear Lady. You are to be kind and gentle to husbandmen and toilers of all degrees, to worthy knights and yeomen, to gallant squires, and to all children and helpless people; but sheriffs (especially him of Nottingham), bishops, and prelates of all kinds, and usurers in Church and State, you may regard as your enemies, and may rob, beat, and despoil in any way. Meet me with your guest at our great trysting oak in the forest, and be speedy, for dinner must wait until the visitor has arrived." "Now may God send us a suitable traveller soon," said Little John, "for I am hungry for dinner now." "So am I," said each of the others, and Robin laughed again. "Go ye all three, with bows and arrows in hand, and I will stay alone at the trysting tree and await your coming. As no man passes this way, you can walk up to the willow plantation and take your stand on Watling Street; there you will soon meet with likely travellers, and I will accept the first who appears. I will find means to have dinner ready against your return, and we will hope that our visitor's generosity will compensate us for the trouble of cooking his dinner."
The three yeomen, taking their longbows in hand and arrows in their belts, walked up through the willow plantation to a place on Watling Street where another road crossed it; but there was no one in sight. As they stood with bows in hand, looking towards the forest of Barnesdale, they saw in the distance a knight
riding in their direction. As he drew nearer they were struck by his appearance, for he rode as a man who had lost all interest in life; his clothes were disordered, he looked neither to right nor left, but drooped his head sadly, while one foot hung in the stirrup and the other dangled slackly in the air. The yeomen had never seen so doleful a rider; but, sad as he was, this was a visitor and must be taken to Robin; accordingly Little John stepped forward and caught the horse by the bridle.
The knight raised his head and looked blankly at the outlaw, who at once doffed his cap, saying, "Welcome, Sir Knight! I give you, on my master's behalf, a hearty welcome to the greenwood. Gentle knight, come now to my master, who bath waited three hours, fasting, for your approach before he would dine. Dinner is prepared, and only tarries your courteous appearance." The stranger knight seemed to consider this address carefully, for he sighed deeply, and then said: "I cry thee mercy, good fellow, for the delay, though I wot not how I am the cause thereof. But who is thy master?" Little John replied: "My master's name is Robin Hood, and I am sent to guide you to him." The knight said: "So Robin Hood is thy leader? I have heard of him, and know him to be a good yeoman; therefore I am ready to accompany thee, though, in good sooth, I had intended to eat my midday meal at Blythe or Doncaster to-day. But it matters little where a broken man dines!"
The three yeomen conducted the knight along the forest ways to the trysting oak where Robin awaited
them. As they went they observed that the knight was weeping silently for some great distress, but their courtesy forbade them to make any show of noticing his grief. When the appointed spot was reached, Robin stepped forward and courteously greeted his guest, with head uncovered and bended knee, and welcomed him gladly to the wild greenwood. "Welcome, Sir Knight, to our greenwood feast! I have waited three hours for a guest, and now Our Lady has sent you to me we can dine, after we have heard Mass." The knight said nothing but, "God save you, good Robin, and all your merry men"; and then very devoutly they heard the three Masses, sung by Friar Tuck. By this time others of the outlaw band had appeared, having returned from various errands, and a gay company sat down to a banquet as good as any the knight had ever eaten.
There was abundance of good things--venison and game of all kinds, swans and river-fowl and fish, with bread and good wine. Every one seemed joyous, and merry jests went round that jovial company, till even the careworn guest began to smile, and then to laugh outright. At this Robin was well pleased, for he saw that his visitor was a good man, and was glad to have lifted the burden of his care, even if only for a few minutes; so he smiled cheerfully at the knight and said: "Be merry, Sir Knight, I pray, and eat heartily of our food, for it is with great goodwill that we offer it to you." "Thanks, good Robin," replied the knight. "I have enjoyed my dinner to-day greatly; for three weeks I have not had so good a meal. If I ever pass by this way again I will do my best to repay you in kind; as good a dinner will I try to provide as you have given me."
The outlaw chief seemed to be affronted by this suggestion, and replied, with a touch of pride in his manner: "Thanks for your proffer, Sir Knight, but, by Heaven! no man has ever yet deemed me a glutton. While I eat one dinner I am not accustomed to look eagerly for another--one is enough for me. But as for you, my guest, I think it only fitting that you should pay before you go; a yeoman was never meant to pay for a knight's banquet." The knight blushed, and looked confused for a moment, and then said: "True, Robin, and gladly would I reward you for my entertainment, but I have no money worth offering; even all I have would not be worthy of your acceptance, and I should be shamed in your eyes, and those of your men.
"Is that the truth?" asked Robin, making a sign to Little John, who arose, and, going to the knight's steed, unstrapped a small coffer, which he brought back and placed before his master. "Search it, Little John," said he, and "You, sir, tell me the very truth, by your honour as a belted knight." "It is truth, on my honour, that I have but ten shillings," replied the knight, "and if Little John searches he will find no more." "Open the coffer," said Robin, and Little John took it away to the other side of the trysting oak, where he emptied its contents on his outspread cloak, and found exactly ten shillings. Returning to his master, who sat at his ease, drinking and gaily conversing with his anxious guest, Little John whispered: "The knight has told the truth," and thereupon Robin exclaimed aloud: "Sir Knight, I will not take one
penny from you; you may rather borrow of me if you have need of more money, for ten shillings is but a miserable sum for a knight. But tell me now, if it be your pleasure, how you come to be in such distress." As he looked inquiringly at the stranger, whose blush had faded once, only to be renewed as he found his word of honour doubted, he noticed how thin and threadbare were his clothes and how worn his russet leather shoes; and he was grieved to see so noble-seeming a man in such a plight.
Yet Robin meant to fathom the cause of the knight's trouble, for then, perhaps, he would be able to help him, so he continued pitilessly: "Tell me just one word, which I will keep secret from all other men: were you driven by compulsion to take up knighthood, or urged to beg it by reason of the ownership of some small estate; or have you wasted your old inheritance with fines for brawling and strife, or in gambling and riotousness, or in borrowing at usury? All of these are fatal to a good estate."
The knight replied: "Alas! good Robin, none of these bath been my undoing. My ancestors have all been knights for over a hundred years, and I have not lived wastefully, but soberly and sparely. As short a time ago as last year I had over four hundred pounds saved, which I could spend freely among my neighbours, and my income was four hundred pounds a year from my land; but now my only possessions are my wife and children. This is the work of God's hand, and to Him I commit me to amend my estate in His own good time."
"But how have you so soon lost this great wealth?"
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''I have no money worth offering''
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''Sir Richard knelt in courteous salutation''
asked Robin incredulously; and the knight replied sadly: "Ah, Robin, you have no son, or you would know that a father will give up all to save his first-born. I have one gallant son, and when I went on the Crusade with our noble Prince Edward I left him at home to guard my lands, for he was twenty years old, and was a brave and comely youth. When I returned, after two years' absence, it was to find him in great danger, for in a public tournament he had slain in open fight a knight of Lancashire and a bold young squire. He would have died a shameful death had I not spent all my ready money and other property to save him from prison, for his enemies were mighty and unjust; and even that was not enough, for I was forced to mortgage my estates for more money. All my land lies in pledge to the abbot of St. Mary's Abbey, in York, and I have no hope to redeem it. I was riding to York when your men found me."
"For what sum is your land pledged?" asked the master-outlaw; and the knight replied: "The Abbot lent me four hundred pounds, though the value of the land is far beyond that." "What will you do if you fail to redeem your land?" asked Robin. "I shall leave England at once, and journey once more to Jerusalem, and tread again the sacred Hill of Calvary, and never more return to my native land. That will be my fate, for I see no likelihood of repaying the loan, and I will not stay to see strangers holding my father's land. Farewell, my friend Robin, farewell to you all! Keep the ten shillings; I would have paid more if I could, but that is the best I can give you." "Have you no friends at home?" asked Robin; and the knight said: "Many friends I thought I had, sir. They were very
kind and helpful in my days of prosperity, when I did not need them; now they will not know me, so much has my poverty seemed to alter my face and appearance."
This pitiful story touched the hearts of the simple and kindly outlaws; they wept for pity, and cared not to hide their tears from each other, until Robin made them all pledge their guest in bumpers of good red wine. Then their chief asked, as if continuing his own train of thought: "Have you any friends who will act as sureties for the repayment of the loan?" "None at all," replied the knight hopelessly, "but God Himself, who suffered on the Tree for us." This last reply angered Robin, who thought it savoured too much of companionship with the fat and hypocritical monks whom he hated, and he retorted sharply: "No such tricks for me! Do you think I will take such a surety, or even one of the saints, in return for good solid gold? Get some more substantial surety, or no gold shall you have from me. I cannot afford to waste my money."
The knight replied, sighing heavily: "If you will not take these I have no earthly surety to offer; and in Heaven there is only our dear Lady. I have served her truly, and she has never failed me till now, when her servant, the abbot, is playing me so cruel a trick." "Do you give Our Lady as your surety?" said Robin Hood. "I would take her bond for any sum, for throughout all England you could find no better surety than our dear Lady, who has always been gracious to me. She is enough security. Go, Little John, to my treasury and bring me four hundred pounds, well counted, with no false or clipped coin therein."
Little John, accompanied by Much, the careful treasurer of the band, went quickly to the secret place where the master-outlaw kept his gold. Very carefully they counted out the coins, testing each, to see that it was of full weight and value. Then, on the suggestion of Little John, they provided the knight with new clothing, even to boots and spurs, and finally supplied him with two splendid horses, one for riding and one to carry his baggage and the coffer of gold.
The guest watched all these preparations with bewildered eyes, and turned to Robin, crying, "Why have you done all this for me, a perfect stranger?" "You are no stranger, but Our Lady's messenger. She sent you to me, and Heaven grant you may prove true."
"God grant it," echoed the knight. "But, Robin, when shall I repay this loan, and where? Set me a day, and I will keep it." "Here," replied the outlaw, "under this greenwood tree, and in a twelvemonth's time; so will you have time to regain your friends and gather your rents from your redeemed lands. Now farewell, Sir Knight; and since it is not meet for a worthy knight to journey unattended, I will lend you also my comrade, Little John, to be your squire, and to do you yeoman service, if need be." The knight bade farewell to Robin and his generous followers, and was turning to ride away, when he suddenly stopped and addressed the master-outlaw: "In faith, good Robin, I had forgotten one thing. You know not my name. I am Sir Richard of the Lea, and my land lies in Uterysdale." "As for that," said Robin Hood, "I trouble not myself. You are Our Lady's messenger;
that is enough for me." So Sir Richard rode gladly away, blessing the generous outlaw who lent him money to redeem his land, and a stout yeoman to defend the loan.
As the knight and his new servant rode on, Sir Richard called to his man, saying, "I must by all means be in York to-morrow, to pay the abbot of St. Mary's four hundred pounds; if I fail of my day I shall lose my land and lordship for ever"; and Little John answered: "Fear not, master; we will surely be there in time enough." Then they rode on, and reached York early on the last day of the appointed time.
In the meantime the abbot of St. Mary's was counting that Sir Richard's lands were safely his; he had no pity for the poor unlucky knight, but rather exulted in the legal cruelty which he could inflict. Very joyfully he called aloud, early that morn: "A twelvemonth ago to-day we lent four hundred pounds to a needy knight, Sir Richard of the Lea, and unless he comes by noon to-day to repay the money he will lose all his land and be disinherited, and our abbey will be the richer by a fat estate, worth four hundred pounds a year. Our Lady grant that he keep not his day." "Shame on you!" cried the prior. "This poor knight may be ill, or beyond the sea; he may be in hunger and cold as well as poverty, and it will be a foul wrong if you declare his land forfeit."
"This is the set day," replied the abbot, "and he is not here." "You dare not escheat his estates yet," replied the prior stubbornly. "It is too early in the day; until noon the lands are still Sir Richard's, and
no man shall take them ere the clock strikes. Shame on your conscience and your greed, to do a good knight such foul wrong! I would willingly pay a hundred pounds myself to prevent it."
"Beshrew your meddlesome temper!" cried the abbot. "You are always crossing me! But I have with me the Lord Chief Justice, and he will declare my legal right." Just at that moment the high cellarer of the abbey entered to congratulate the abbot on Sir Richard's absence. "He is dead or ill, and we shall have the spending of four hundred pounds a year," quoth he.
On his arrival Sir Richard had quietly gone round to his old tenants in York, and had a goodly company of them ready to ride with him, but he was minded to test the charity and true religion of the abbot, and bade his followers assume pilgrims' robes. Thus attired, the company rode to the abbey gate, where the porter recognised Sir Richard, and the news of his coming, carried to the abbot and justice, caused them great grief; but the prior rejoiced, hoping that a cruel injustice would be prevented. As they dismounted the porter loudly called grooms to lead the horses into the stable and have them relieved of their burdens, but Sir Richard would not allow it, and left Little John to watch over them at the abbey portal.
Then Sir Richard came humbly into the hall, where a great banquet was in progress, and knelt down in courteous salutation to the abbot and his guests; but the prelate, who had made up his mind what conduct to adopt, greeted him coldly, and many men did not
return his salutation at all. Sir Richard spoke aloud: "Rejoice, Sir Abbot, for I am come to keep my day." "That is well," replied the monk, "but hast thou brought the money?" "No money have I, not one penny," continued Sir Richard sadly. "Pledge me in good red wine, Sir Justice," cried the abbot callously; "the land is mine. And what dost thou here, Sir Richard, a broken man, with no money to pay thy debt?" "I am come to beg you to grant me a longer time for repayment." "Not one minute past the appointed hour," said the exultant prelate. "Thou hast broken pledge, and thy land is forfeit."
Still kneeling, Sir Richard turned to the justice and said: "Good Sir Justice, be my friend and plead for me." "No," he replied, "I hold to the law, and can give thee no help." "Gentle abbot, have pity on me, and let me have my land again, and I will be the humble servant of your monastery till I have repaid in full your four hundred pounds." Then the cruel prelate swore a terrible oath that never should the knight have his land again, and no one in the hall would speak for him, kneeling there poor, friendless, and alone; so at last he began to threaten violence. "Unless I have my land again," quoth he, "some of you here shall dearly abide it. Now may I see the poor man has no friends, for none will stand by me in my need."
The hint of violence made the abbot furiously angry, and, secure in his position and the support of the justice, he shouted loudly: "Out, thou false knight! Out of my hall!" Then at last Sir Richard rose to his in just wrath. "Thou liest, Sir Abbot; foully thou
liest! I was never a false knight. In joust and tourney I have adventured as far and as boldly as any man alive. There is no true courtesy in thee, abbot, to suffer a knight to kneel so long." The quarrel now seemed so serious that the justice intervened, saying to the angry prelate, "What will you give me if I persuade him to sign a legal deed of release? Without it you will never hold this land in peace." "You shall have a hundred pounds for yourself," said the abbot, and the justice nodded in token of assent.
Now Sir Richard thought it was time to drop the mask, for noon was nigh, and he would not risk his land again. Accordingly he cried: "Nay, but not so easily shall ye have my lands. Even if you were to pay a thousand pounds more you should not hold my father's estate. Have here your money back again"; and, calling for Little John, he bade him bring into the hall his coffer with the bags inside. Then he counted out on the table four hundred good golden pounds, and said sternly: "Abbot, here is your money again. Had you but been courteous to me I would have rewarded you well; now take your money, give me a quittance, and I will take my lands once more. Ye are all witnesses that I have kept my day and have paid in full." Thereupon Sir Richard strode haughtily out of the hall, and rode home gladly to his recovered lands in Uterysdale, where he and his family ever prayed for Robin Hood. The abbot of St. Mary's was bitterly enraged, for he had lost the fair lands of Sir Richard of the Lea and had received a bare four hundred pounds again. As for Little John, he went back to the forest and told his master the whole story, to Robin Hood's great satisfaction,
for he enjoyed the chance of thwarting the schemes of a wealthy and usurious prelate.
When a year had passed all but a few days, Sir Richard of the Lea said to his wife: "Lady, I must shortly go to Barnesdale to repay Robin Hood the loan which saved my lands, and would fain take him some small gift in addition; what do you advise?" "Sir Richard, I would take a hundred bows of Spanish yew and a hundred sheaves of arrows, peacock-feathered, or grey-goose-feathered; methinks that will be to Robin a most acceptable gift."
Sir Richard followed his wife's advice, and on the morning of the appointed day set out to keep his tryst at the outlaws' oak in Barnesdale, with the money duly counted, and the bows and arrows for his present to the outlaw chief.
As he rode, however, at the head of his troop he passed through a village where there was a wrestling contest, which he stayed to watch. He soon saw that the victorious wrestler, who was a stranger to the village, would be defrauded of his well-earned prize, which consisted of a white bull, a noble charger gaily caparisoned, a gold ring, a pipe of wine, and a pair of embroidered gloves. This seemed so wrong to Sir Richard that he stayed to defend the right, for love of Robin Hood and of justice, and kept the wrestling ring in awe with his well-appointed troop of men, so that the stranger was allowed to claim his prize and carry it off. Sir Richard, anxious not to arouse the hostility of the villagers, bought the pipe of wine from the winner, and, setting it abroach, allowed all who would to drink;
and so, in a tumult of cheers and blessings, he rode away to keep his tryst. By this time, however, it was nearly three in the afternoon, and he should have been there at twelve. He comforted himself with the thought that Robin would forgive the delay, for the sake of its cause, and so rode on comfortably enough at the head of his gallant company.
In the meantime Robin had waited patiently at the trysting tree till noon, but when the hour passed and Sir Richard had not appeared he began to grow impatient. "Master, let us dine," said Little John. "I cannot; I fear Our Lady is angered with me, for she has not sent me my money," returned the leader; but his follower replied: "The money is not due till sunset, master, and Our Lady is true, and so is Sir Richard; have no fear." "Do you three walk up through the willow plantation to Watling Street, as you did last year, and bring me a guest," said Robin Hood. "He may be a messenger, a minstrel, a poor man, but he will come in God's name."
Again the three yeomen, Little John, Will Scarlet, and Much the miller's son, took bow in hand and set out for Watling Street; but this time they had not long to wait, for they at once saw a little procession approaching. Two black monks rode at the head; then followed seven sumpter-mules and a train of fifty-two men, so that the clerics rode in almost royal state. a Seest thou yon monks?" said Little John. "I will pledge my soul that they have brought our pay." "But they are fifty-four, and we are but three," said Scarlet. "Unless we bring them to dinner we dare not face
our master," cried Little John. "Look well to your bows, your strings and arrows, and have stout hearts and steady hands. I will take the foremost monk, for life or death."
The three outlaws stepped out into the road from the shelter of the wood; they bent their bows and held their arrows on the string, and Little John cried aloud: "Stay, churlish monk, or thou goest to thy death, and it will be on thine own head! Evil on thee for keeping our master fasting so long." "Who is your master?" asked the bewildered monk; and Little John replied: "Robin Hood." The monk tossed his head. "He is a foul thief," cried he, "and will come to a bad end. I have heard no good of him all my days." So sneaking, he tried to ride forward and trample down the three yeomen; but Little John cried: "Thou liest, churlish monk, and thou shalt rue the lie. He is a good yeoman of this forest, and has bidden thee to dine with him this day"; and Much, drawing his bow, shot the monk to the heart, so that he fell to the ground dead. The other black monk was taken, but all his followers fled, except a little page, and a groom who tended the sumpter-mules; and thus, with Little John's help and guidance, the panic-stricken cleric and his train of baggage were brought to Robin under the trysting tree.
Robin Hood doffed his cap and greeted his guest with all courtesy, but the monk would not reply, and Little John's account of their meeting made it evident that he was a churlish and unwilling guest. However, he was obliged to celebrate the three usual Masses, was
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''Much shot the monk to the heart''
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''Her pleading won relief for them''
given water for his ablutions before the banquet, and then when the whole fellowship was assembled he was set in the place of honour at the feast, and reverently served by Robin himself. "Be of good cheer, Sir Monk," said Robin. "Where is your abbey when you are at home, and who is your patron saint?" "I am of St. Mary's Abbey, in York, and, simple though I be, I am the high cellarer."
"For Our Lady's sake," said Robin, "we will give this monk the best of cheer. Drink to me, Sir Monk; the wine is good. But I fear Our Lady is wroth with me, or she has not sent me my money." "Fear not, master," returned Little John; "this monk is her cellarer, and no doubt she has made him her messenger and he carries our money with him." "That is likely," replied Robin. "Sir Monk, Our Lady was surety for a little loan between a good knight and me, and to-day the money was to be repaid. If you have brought it, pay it to me now, and I will thank you heartily." The monk was quite amazed, and cried aloud: "I have never heard of such a suretyship"; and as he spoke he looked so anxiously at his sumpter-mules that Robin guessed there was gold in their pack-saddles.
Accordingly the leader feigned sudden anger. "Sir Monk, how dare you defame our dear Lady? She is always true and faithful, and as you say you are her servant, no doubt she has made you her messenger to bring my money. Tell me truly how much you have in your coffers, and I will thank you for coming so punctually," The monk replied: "Sir, I
have only twenty marks in my bags"; to which Robin answered: "If that be all, and you have told the truth, I will not touch one penny; rather will I lend you some if you need it; but if I find more, I will leave none, Sir Monk, for a religious man should have no silver to spend in luxury." Now the monk looked very greatly alarmed, but he dared make no protest, as Little John began to search his bags and coffers.
When Little John opened the first coffer he emptied its contents, as before, into his cloak, and counted eight hundred pounds, with which he went to Robin Hood, saying, "Master, the monk has told the truth; here are twenty marks of his own, and eight hundred pounds which Our Lady has sent you in return for your loan." When Robin heard that he cried to the miserable monk: "Did I not say so, monk? Is not Our Lady the best surety a man could have? Has she not repaid me twice? Go back to your abbey and say that if ever St. Mary's monks need a friend they shall find one in Robin Hood."
"Where were you journeying?" asked the outlaw leader. "To settle accounts with the bailiffs of our manors," replied the cellarer; but he was in truth journeying to London, to obtain powers from the king against Sir Richard of the Lea. Robin thought for a moment, and then said: "Ah, then we must search your other coffer," and in spite of the cellarer's indignant protests he was deprived of all the money that second coffer contained. Then he was allowed to depart, vowing bitterly that a dinner in Blythe or Doncaster would have cost him much less dear.
Sir Richard Arrives
Late that afternoon Sir Richard of the Lea and his little company arrived at the trysting tree, and full courteously the knight greeted his deliverer and apologised for his delay. Robin asked of his welfare, and the knight told of his protection of the poor wrestler, for which Robin thanked him warmly. When he would fain have repaid the loan the generous outlaw refused to accept the money, though he took with hearty thanks the bows and arrows. In answer to the knight's inquiries, Robin said that he had been paid the money twice over before he came; and he told, to his debtor's great amusement, the story of the high cellarer and his eight hundred pounds, and concluded: "Our Lady owed me no more than four hundred pounds, and she now gives you, by me, the other four hundred. Take them, with her blessing, and if ever you need more come to Robin Hood."
So Sir Richard returned to Uterysdale, and long continued to use his power to protect the bold outlaws, and Robin Hood dwelt securely in the greenwood, doing good to the poor and worthy, but acting as a thorn in the sides of all oppressors and tyrants.