Robin Hood

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

Robin Hood and Sir Guy (Ballad 118)

Reading time: (3 minutes)

Instead of staying with Robin, the ballad now follows John on his way to Barnesdale, where he finds the some of Robin's men under attack. John joins in the battle, but is captured by the Sheriff and condemned to be hanged.
And when hee came to Barnesdale,
Great heavinesse there hee hadd;
He found two of his fellowes
Were slaine both in a slade,
slade = forest glade

And Scarlett a foote flyinge was,
Over stockes and stone,
For the sheriffe with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.

"Yett one shot, I'le shoote," sayes Litle John,
"With Crist his might and mayne;
I'le make yon fellow that flyes soe fast
To be both glad and faine."

stockes = stumps

faine = happy

John bent up a good iewe bow,
And fetteled him to shoote;
The bow was made of a tender boughe,
And fell downe to his foote.
fetteled = prepared
"Woe worth thee, wicked wood," sayd Litle John,
"That ere thou grew on a tree!
For this day thou art my bale,
My boote when thou shold bee!"
boote = help
This shoote it was but looselye shott,
The arrowe flew in vaine,
And it mett one of the sheriffes men;
Good William a Trent was slaine.
It had beene better for William a Trent
To hange upon a gallowe
Then for to lye in the greenwoode,
There slaine with an arrowe.
And it is sayd when men be mett,
Six can doe more then three:
And they have ta'en Litle John,
And bound him fast to a tree.
Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe," quote the sheriffe,
And hanged hye on a hill:"
"But thou may fayle," quoth Little John,
"If itt be Christs owne will."

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

  • what did John discover when he came to Barnsdale?
  • why did John curse his bow? what happened to the arrow he managed to shoot?
  • what was the Sheriff going to do with Little John?

Source:Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898). Weblink. There are additional notes online by Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Ohlgren: 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