Young Robin, the best archer in all the land, is provoked into committing a crime against the all-powerful Sheriff of Nottingham. Forced into hiding in Sherwood Forest, Robin is soon joined by a group of colorful characters who flee to the forest to escape wrong and oppression. There is Little John, Robin's right-hand man; wily Friar Tuck; young Will Scarlet; the sly Tinker; among others. Together Robin and the Merry Men engage in feasts and fine adventures, boldly robbing the rich of their ill-gotten gains and dividing the spoils among the poor citizens. Follow the exploits of this rag-tag band of outcasts as they battle to clear their names, rescue the fair and gentle Maid Marion, and restore the rightful King of England to power. With a flavor of merry old England borrowed from the many ballads and ancient tales that were his sources, author Howard Pyle re-created the excitement and romance of the medieval world complete with knights and ladies, archery contests, golden arrows, revenge, and the quest for justice. This handsome edition, with charming illustrations by Scott McKowen, is sure to find a treasured place in your family's library. Book club questions by noted educator Arthur Pober, Ed.D., further enhance the reading experience.
|Product dimensions:||4.70(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 11 Years|
About the Author
Howard Pyle (1853-1911), a renowned artist, writer, and teacher, is best known for founding the Brandywine school of painting and for authoring The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Nottinghamshire.
A highly respected and enthusiastic audiobook narrator, David Case specialized in creating unique and interesting character voices.
Read an Excerpt
How Robin Hood Came to Be an Outlaw
IN MERRY ENGLAND in the time of old, when good King Henry the Second ruled the land, there lived within the green glades of Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham Town, a famous outlaw whose name was Robin Hood. No archer ever lived that could speed a gray goose shaft with such skill and cunning as his, nor were there ever such yeomen as the sevenscore merry men that roamed with him through the greenwood shades. Right merrily they dwelled within the depths of Sherwood Forest, suffering neither care nor want, but passing the time in merry games of archery or bouts of cudgel play, living upon the King's venison, washed down with draughts of ale of October brewing.
Not only Robin himself but all the band were outlaws and dwelled apart from other men, yet they were beloved by the country people round about, for no one ever came to jolly Robin for help in time of need and went away again with an empty fist.
And now I will tell how it came about that Robin Hood fell afoul of the law.
When Robin was a youth of eighteen, stout of sinew and bold of heart, the Sheriff of Nottingham proclaimed a shooting match and offered a prize of a butt of ale to whosoever should shoot the best shaft in Nottinghamshire. "Now," quoth Robin, "will I go too, for fain would I draw a string for the bright eyes of my lass and a butt of good October brewing." So up he got and took his good stout yew bow and a score or more of broad clothyard arrows, and started off from Locksley Town through Sherwood Forest to Nottingham.
It was at the dawn of day in the merry Maytime, when hedgerows are green and flowers bedeck the meadows; daisies pied and yellow cuckoo buds and fair primroses all along the briery hedges; when apple buds blossom and sweet birds sing, the lark at dawn of day, the throstle cock and cuckoo; when lads and lasses look upon each other with sweet thoughts; when busy housewives spread their linen to bleach upon the bright green grass. Sweet was the greenwood as he walked along its paths, and bright the green and rustling leaves, amid which the little birds sang with might and main: and blithely Robin whistled as he trudged along, thinking of Maid Marian and her bright eyes, for at such times a youth's thoughts are wont to turn pleasantly upon the lass that he loves the best.
As thus he walked along with a brisk step and a merry whistle, he came suddenly upon some foresters seated beneath a great oak tree. Fifteen there were in all, making themselves merry with feasting and drinking as they sat around a huge pasty, to which each man helped himself, thrusting his hands into the pie, and washing down that which they ate with great horns of ale which they drew all foaming from a barrel that stood nigh. Each man was clad in Lincoln green, and a fine show they made, seated upon the sward beneath that fair, spreading tree. Then one of them, with his mouth full, called out to Robin, "Hulloa, where goest thou, little lad, with thy one-penny bow and thy farthing shafts?"
Then Robin grew angry, for no stripling likes to be taunted with his green years.
"Now," quoth he, "my bow and eke mine arrows are as good as shine; and moreover, I go to the shooting match at Nottingham Town, which same has been proclaimed by our good Sheriff of Nottinghamshire; there I will shoot with other stout yeomen, for a prize has been offered of a fine butt of ale."
Then one who held a horn of ale in his hand said, "Ho! listen to the lad! Why, boy, thy mother's milk is yet scarce dry upon thy lips, and yet thou pratest of standing up with good stout men at Nottingham butts, thou who art scarce able to draw one string of a two-stone bow."
"I'll hold the best of you twenty marks," quoth bold Robin, "that I hit the clout at threescore rods, by the good help of Our Lady fair."
At this all laughed aloud, and one said, "Well boasted, thou fair infant, well boasted! And well thou knowest that no target is nigh to make good thy wager."
And another cried, "He will be taking ale with his milk next."
At this Robin grew right mad. "Hark ye," said he, "yonder, at the glade's end, I see a herd of deer, even more than threescore rods distant. I'll hold you twenty marks that, by leave of Our Lady, I cause the best hart among them to die."
"Now done!" cried he who had spoken first. "And here are twenty marks. I wager that thou causest no beast to die, with or without the aid of Our Lady."
Then Robin took his good yew bow in his hand, and placing the tip at his instep, he strung it right deftly; then he nocked a broad clothyard arrow and, raising the bow, drew the gray goose feather to his ear; the next moment the bowstring rang and the arrow sped down the glade as a sparrowhawk skims in a northern wind. High leaped the noblest hart of all the herd, only to fall dead, reddening the green path with his heart's blood.
"Ha!" cried Robin, "how likest thou that shot, good fellow? I wot the wager were mine, an it were three hundred pounds."
Then all the foresters were filled with rage, and he who had spoken the first and had lost the wager was more angry than all.
"Nay," cried he, "the wager is none of thine, and get thee gone, straightway, or, by all the saints of heaven, I'll baste thy sides until thou wilt ne'er be able to walk again." "Knowest thou not," said another, "that thou hast killed the King's deer, and, by the laws of our gracious lord and sovereign King Harry, thine ears should be shaven close to thy head?"
"Catch him!" cried a third.
"Nay," said a fourth, "let him e'en go because of his tender years."
Never a word said Robin Hood, but he looked at the foresters with a grim face; then, turning on his heel, strode away from them down the forest glade. But his heart was bitterly angry, for his blood was hot and youthful and prone to boil.
Now, well would it have been for him who had first spoken had he left Robin Hood alone; but his anger was hot, both because the youth had gotten the better of him and because of the deep draughts of ale that he had been quaffing. So, of a sudden, without any warning, he sprang to his feet, and seized upon his bow and fitted it to a shaft. "Ay," cried he, "and I'll hurry thee anon." And he sent the arrow whistling after Robin.
It was well for Robin Hood that that same forester's head was spinning with ale, or else he would never have taken another step. As it was, the arrow whistled within three inches of his head. Then he turned around and quickly drew his own bow, and sent an arrow back in return.
"Ye said I was no archer," cried he aloud, "but say so now again!"
The shaft flew straight; the archer fell forward with a cry, and lay on his face upon the ground, his arrows rattling about him from out of his quiver, the gray goose shaft wet with his; heart's blood. Then, before the others could gather their wits about them, Robin Hood was gone into the depths of the greenwood. Some started after him, but not with much heart, for each feared to suffer the death of his fellow; so presently they all came and lifted the dead man up and bore him away to Nottingham Town.
Meanwhile Robin Hood ran through the greenwood. Gone was all the joy and brightness from everything, for his heart was sick within him, and it was borne in upon his soul that he had slain a man.
"Alas!" cried he, "thou hast found me an archer that will make thy wife to wring! I would that thou hadst ne'er said one word to me, or that I had never passed thy way, or e'en that my right forefinger had been stricken off ere that this had happened! In haste I smote, but grieve I sore at leisure!" And then, even in his trouble, he remembered the old saw that "What is done is done; and the egg cracked cannot be cured."
And so he came to dwell in the greenwood that was to be his home for many a year to come, never again to see the happy days with the lads and lasses of sweet Locksley Town; for he was outlawed, not only because he had killed a man, but also because he had poached upon the King's deer, and two hundred pounds were set upon his head, as a reward for whoever would bring him to the court of the King.
Now the Sheriff of Nottingham swore that he himself would bring this knave Robin Hood to justice, and for two reasons: first, because he wanted the two hundred pounds, and next, because the forester that Robin Hood had killed was of kin to him.
But Robin Hood lay hidden in Sherwood Forest for one year, and in that time there gathered around him many others like himself, cast out from other folk for this cause and for that. Some had shot deer in hungry wintertime, when they could get no other food, and had been seen in the act by the foresters, but had escaped, thus saving their ears; some had been turned out of their inheritance, that their farms might be added to the King's lands in Sherwood Forest; some had been despoiled by a great baron or a rich abbot or a powerful esquire — all, for one cause or another, had come to Sherwood to escape wrong and oppression.
So, in all that year, fivescore or more good stout yeomen gathered about Robin Hood, and chose him to be their leader and chief. Then they vowed that even as they themselves had been despoiled they would despoil their oppressors, whether baron, abbot, knight, or squire, and that from each they would take that which had been wrung from the poor by unjust taxes, or land rents, or in wrongful fines. But to the poor folk they would give a helping hand in need and trouble, and would return to them that which had been unjustly taken from them. Besides this, they swore never to harm a child nor to wrong a woman, be she maid, wife, or widow; so that, after a while, when the people began to find that no harm was meant to them, but that money or food came in time of want to many a poor family, they came to praise Robin and his merry men, and to tell many tales of him and of his doings in Sherwood Forest, for they felt him to be one of themselves.
Up rose Robin Hood one merry morn when all the birds were singing blithely among the leaves, and up rose all his merry men, each fellow washing his head and hands in the cold brown brook that leaped laughing from stone to stone. Then said Robin, "For fourteen days have we seen no sport, so now I will go abroad to seek adventures forthwith. But tarry ye, my merry men all, here in the greenwood; only see that ye mind well my call. Three blasts upon the bugle horn I will blow in my hour of need; then come quickly, for I shall want your aid."
So saying, he strode away through the leafy forest glades until he had come to the verge of Sherwood. There he wandered for a long time, through highway and byway, through dingly dell and forest skirts. Now he met a fair buxom lass in a shady lane, and each gave the other a merry word and passed their way; now he saw a fair lady upon an ambling pad, to whom he doffed his cap, and who bowed sedately in return to the fair youth; now he saw a fat monk on a pannier-laden ass; now a gallant knight, with spear and shield and armor that flashed brightly in the sunlight; now a page clad in crimson; and now a stout burgher from good Nottingham Town, pacing along with serious footsteps; all these sights he saw, but adventure found he none. At last he took a road by the forest skirts, a bypath that dipped toward a broad, pebbly stream spanned by a narrow bridge made of a log of wood. As he drew nigh this bridge he saw a tall stranger coming from the other side. Thereupon Robin quickened his pace, as did the stranger likewise, each thinking to cross first.
"Now stand thou back," quoth Robin, "and let the better man cross first."
"Nay," answered the stranger, "then stand back shine own self, for the better man, I wet, am I."
"That will we presently see," quoth Robin, "and meanwhile stand thou where thou art, or else, by the bright brow of Saint AElfrida, I will show thee right good Nottingham play with a clothyard shaft betwixt thy ribs."
"Now," quoth the stranger, "I will tan thy hide till it be as many colors as a beggar's cloak, if thou darest so much as touch a string of that same bow that thou holdest in thy hands."
"Thou pratest like an ass," said Robin, "for I could send this shaft clean through thy proud heart before a curtal friar could say grace over a roast goose at Michaelmastide."
"And thou pratest like a coward," answered the stranger, "for thou standest there with a good yew bow to shoot at my heart, while I have nought in my hand but a plain blackthorn staff wherewith to meet thee."
"Now," quoth Robin, "by the faith of my heart, never have I had a coward's name in all my life before. I will lay by my trusty bow and eke my arrows, and if thou darest abide my coming, I will go and cut a cudgel to test thy manhood withal."
"Ay, marry, that will I abide thy coming, and joyously, too," quoth the stranger; whereupon he leaned sturdily upon his staff to await Robin.
Then Robin Hood stepped quickly to the coverside and cut a good staff of ground oak, straight, without new, and six feet in length, and came back trimming away the tender stems from it, while the stranger waited for him, leaning upon his staff, and whistling as he gazed round about. Robin observed him furtively as he trimmed his staff, measuring him from top to toe from out the corner of his eye, and thought that he had never seen a lustier or a stouter man. Tall was Robin, but taller was the stranger by a head and a neck, for he was seven feet in height. Broad was Robin across the shoulders, but broader was the stranger by twice the breadth of a palm, while he measured at least an ell around the waist.
"Nevertheless," said Robin to himself, "I will baste thy hide right merrily, my good fellow"; then, aloud, "Lo, here is my good staff, lusty and tough. Now wait my coming, an thou darest, and meet me an thou fearest not. Then we will fight until one or the other of us tumble into the stream by dint of blows."
"Marry, that meeteth my whole heart!" cried the stranger, twirling his staff above his head, betwixt his fingers and thumb, until it whistled again.
Never did the Knights of Arthur's Round Table meet in a stouter fight than did these two. In a moment Robin stepped quickly upon the bridge where the stranger stood; first he made a feint, and then delivered a blow at the stranger's head that, had it met its mark, would have tumbled him speedily into the water. But the stranger turned the blow right deftly and in return gave one as stout, which Robin also turned as the stranger had done. So they stood, each in his place, neither moving a finger's-breadth back, for one good hour, and many blows were given and received by each in that time, till here and there were sore bones and bumps, yet neither thought of crying "Enough," nor seemed likely to fall from off the bridge. Now and then they stopped to rest, and each thought that he never had seen in all his life before such a hand at quarterstaff. At last Robin gave the stranger a blow upon the ribs that made his jacket smoke like a damp straw thatch in the sun. So shrewd was the stroke that the stranger came within a hair's-breadth of falling off the bridge, but he regained himself right quickly and, by a dexterous blow, gave Robin a crack on the crown that caused the blood to flow. Then Robin grew mad with anger and smote with all his might at the other. But the stranger warded the blow and once again thwacked Robin, and this time so fairly that he fell heels over head into the water, as the queen pin falls in a game of bowls.
"And where art thou now, my good lad?" shouted the stranger, roaring with laughter.
"Oh, in the flood and floating adown with the tide," cried Robin, nor could he forbear laughing himself at his sorry plight. Then, gaining his feet, he waded to the bank, the little fish speeding hither and thither, all frightened at his splashing.
"Give me thy hand," cried he, when he had reached the bank. "I must needs own thou art a brave and a sturdy soul and, withal, a good stout stroke with the cudgels. By this and by that, my head hummeth like to a hive of bees on a hot June day."
Then he clapped his horn to his lips and winded a blast that went echoing sweetly down the forest paths. "Ay, marry," quoth he again, "thou art a tall lad, and eke a brave one, for ne'er, I bow, is there a man betwixt here and Canterbury Town could do the like to me that thou hast done."
"And thou," quoth the stranger, laughing, "takest thy cudgeling like a brave heart and a stout yeoman."
But now the distant twigs and branches rustled with the coming of men, and suddenly a score or two of good stout yeomen, all clad in Lincoln green, burst from out the covert, with merry Will Stutely at their head.
"Good master," cried Will, "how is this? Truly thou art all wet from head to foot, and that to the very skin."
"Why, marry," answered jolly Robin, "yon stout fellow hath tumbled me neck and crop into the water and hath given me a drubbing beside."
"Then shall he not go without a ducking and eke a drubbing himself!" cried Will Stutely. "Have at him, lads!"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood"
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Table of Contents
|Preface: From the Author to the Reader||3|
|1||Robin Hood and the Tinker||19|
|2||The Shooting-Match at Nottingham Town||31|
|3||Will Stutely Rescued by His Good Companions||42|
|1||Robin Hood Turns Butcher||55|
|2||Little John Goes to the Fair at Nottingham Town||67|
|3||How Little John Lived at the Sheriff's House||74|
|1||Little John and the Tanner of Blyth||89|
|2||Robin Hood and Will Scarlet||99|
|3||The Merry Adventure with Midge the Miller||109|
|1||Robin Hood and Allan a Dale||127|
|2||Robin Seeketh the Curtal Friar of the Fountain||142|
|3||Robin Hood Compasseth the Marriage of Two True Lovers||158|
|1||Robin Hood Aideth a Sorrowful Knight||173|
|2||How Sir Richard of the Lea Paid His Debts to Emmet||189|
|1||Little John Turns Barefoot Friar||207|
|2||Robin Hood Turns Beggar||222|
|1||Robin and Three of His Merry Men Shoot Before Queen Eleanor in Finsbury Fields||243|
|2||The Chase of Robin Hood||262|
|1||Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne||283|
|2||King Richard Cometh to Sherwood Forest||300|
|Questions, Questions, Questions||329|
|About the Author||333|
|About the Illustrator||335|
What People are Saying About This
"Experienced reader Vance's proper British accent and sprightly pacing keep the action humming.... Not just for kids, this audio holds adult appeal as well." -Booklist Audio Review
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In an age when masculinity has turned topsy-turvy, it's good to know there is still literature out there which offers positive role models of strong, masculine men. Robin and his merry followers are the best kind of men: generous, compassionate, brave, loyal, tough and ready to fight for a just cause when they see one. Robin especially so. He is a born leader, a man so secure in his masculinity that he registers both joy and sorrow without equal ease. Unlike so many of today's media heroes who'd respond with a callous quip, Robin is laid-low with remorse when he takes a man's life and is outlawed. His gentleness and generosity of spirit attract everyone around him. People admire him for who he is as well as his prowess as an archer. His complete lack of malice is a tonic in a brutal world. There are some who may not like Pyle's manner of writing in Medieval sounding English, but I think it gives the stories an authenticity which transports the reader back to Sherwood Forest and summer days and eating meat pies with your hands and drinking from a leather sack. In short, if you have boys or just like good, clean, adventure stories with lots of humor and good values, I highly recommend these classic tales.
This free copy of Robin Hood has some issues - find the one with 4 stars. Specifically, the OCR program was unable to read parts of the book, and you get jibberish in the middle of some sentences. The Jibberish is so annoying, that my kids would stop trying to read the book.
I was sunk so deeply into the pages of this book like I have never been before. The beautiful language that Howard Pyle uses made the book even more unique and outstanding. I recommend this to anyone!!!!! I love medieval ages and all that has to do with it. This book was wonderful by depicting the life in Medieval England... I enjoyed it very much! Best book that I have ever read! Extraordinary!
This set of Robin Hood tales is closer to the original ballad form than most others - at many points, I could envision a clear narrator/storyteller, performing for an audience. At times, he even addresses them directly and interacts with them. The stories are generally very fun, set up as entertainment rather than with a moral lesson or fable or something - hence, a Robin Hood that is more scallywag than hero, and merry men that are, well, merry. My only gripe is that I found it very dry after a certain point, and had to really struggle past the halfway point. It was pretty easy to put down and forget about.
We finished Robin Hood this morning and read through the epilogue. We should have stopped at the end but the kids insisted we read through. Tears all around. Ashlyn was the most affected by the way he died. If he had only died in honest battle instead of being betrayed and murdered. A surprisingly poignant ending to a uproariously funny tale. We had so much fun reading this book and reenacting battles. Chapter after chapter Robin proved to truly be a good guy and it seemed that his luck would never run out. We took some consolation in the fact that Robin was reunited with his band before he died. Wonderfully done and as always the original is much much better than any retelling!
Don't got the ebook version, but i got the book. Read it 'n' talk 'bout good! DrewDog
It was good
This book's format doesn't work. The words are confined to a narrow column in the center of the page, and even if I change the font size and margins nothing changes. I am using a Nook Simple Touch Reader. Go get a different version if you actually want to be able to read the book.
One of the examples of the robin hood legend
This recounts the tales of Merry Robin hood in a way that none other has. The dialect in this novel makes it even more unique, in the fact that it is the speech used in that era. I highly reccomend this book to all interested in midieval tales.
This is unarguably one of the best books ever written, both for children, young adults, and even adults. However, those who are less literary might find the book less enjoyable, as it is written in older English and uses 'thee''s and 'thou''s. I personally think that it's made much more wonderful because of the language. However, be careful what version you get - there are versions that are edited so that they are in more modern speak, and these are almost worthless. There are also nice hardcover versions without Howard Pyle's original illustrations, which is a silly concept - his illustrations go with his writing, and the two should not be separated. The Signet Classic paperback, and probably the hardcover, has many innocuous misprintings, but other than that is a good version - however, a hardback version with no misprintings and all the original pictures and language is what I would recommend, even though I can't tell you who prints such a copy.
I thought that this book was a very cool story, written in a different way from what people would usually tell you, also with extremely adequate and jubilant illustrations. I would recommend this book for a person who enjoys a nice fantasy story.
Howard Pyle's novel has a way of capturing the reader. I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone. I epsecially enjoyed the Old English dialect that Pyle used in this masterpiece.