Robin Hood

Week 9: Medieval Heroes - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images


Robin Hood and the Tanner (Ballad 126)

Reading time:(2 minutes)

In this ballad, Robin meets a man named "Arder" (sometimes called "Arthur" or "Arthur a Bland"), a tanner with whom he does battle in the woods, fighting with staves as he did in the previous ballad with Little John.

Bold Arder went forth one summer morning
To view the merry green wood;
For to hunt for the deer that run here and there
And there he espied Robin Hood.
Aye, and there he espied Robin Hood.

 

'What a fellow art thou?' quoth bold Robin Hood,
'And what is thy business here?
For now, to be brief, thou dost look like a thief
And I come for to steal the king's deer.
Aye, come for to steal the king's deer.'

'No, I am the keeper of this parish
The king hath a-put me in trust;
And therefore I pray thee to get on thy way
Or else to upstand thee I must.
Aye, Or else to upstand thee I must.'

'Tis thou must have more partakers in store
Before thou upstand me in deed,
For I have a staff, he is made of ground graff
And I warrant he'll do my deed.
Aye, and I warrant he'll do my deed.'

'And I have another,' quoth bold Robin Hood,
'He's made of an oaken tree,
He's eight foot and a half and would knock down a calf
And why shouldn't a' knock down thee?
Aye, and why shouldn't a' knock down thee?'

more partakers in store: more men who will fight with you
ground: ground-oak

'Let us measure our staves,' says bold Robin Hood
'Before we begin and away,
If by half a foot mine should be longer than thine
Then that should be counted foul play.
Aye, and that should be counted foul play.'

Then at it they went, for bang, for bang,
The space of two hours or more.
Every blow they swung makes the grove to ring
And they play their game so sure.
Aye, and they play their game so sure.

 

Then bold Robin Hood drew forth bugle horn,
And he blew it both loud and shrill,
And direct thereupon he espied Little John
Come running a-down the hill.
Aye, come running a-down the hill.

'O what is the matter?' then said Little John
'You are not doing well,' he said.
'O,' says bold Robin Hood, 'here's a tanner so good
And I warrant he's tanned my hide.
Aye, and I warrant he's tanned my hide.'

'If he's such a tanner,' then says Little John,
'A tanner that tans so true,
We'll make-a no doubt but we'll have a fresh bout
And I warrant he'll tan my hide too.
Aye, and I warrant he'll tan my hide too.'

'That thing shall not be,' says Bold Robin Hood,
'For he is a hero so bold,
For he has best play'd, he is master of his trade
And by no man shall he be controll'd.
Aye, and by no man shall he be controll'd.'


Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • what weapons did the tanner and Robin Hood use to fight?
  • who won the fight between the tanner and Robin Hood?
  • why did Robin Hood tell Little John not to fight the tanner?

Source: Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898). Weblink.


Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM