At the young age of fifteen, there was a boy living in Sherwood forest who could handle a bow and arrow better than any grown man in the village of Nottingham.
This boy, named Robin Hood, had one wish, and that was to become a member of the king’s Foresters. The Foresters were a group of men that policed the forest on behalf of the king. Robin felt that this was a noble job. At least, that’s what he thought until he approached the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin was certain that he’d be hired on the spot. After all, no one could use a bow and arrow as well as he could.
The sheriff just laughed at Robin. When Robin protested, the sheriff tried to arrest him. If it hadn’t been for the friends that Robin Hood had made in Sherwood Forest, he would certainly have been taken prisoner. It was with these friends that Robin Hood formed a band of men who lived together in the forest. They became known as the Merry Men. The sheriff learned that Robin and his Merry Men would rob rich civilians who passed through the forest. But what made the sheriff really angry was that Robin would give the money to the poor.
The sheriff hatched a plan to catch Robin Hood.
“Men,” called Robin to his friends,
“I’ve just heard that the sheriff is holding an archery contest. And I intend to win!”
“But Robin,” cried Little John, the largest man in the group, “everyone knows you’re the greatest archer this side of the sky. Surely this must be some sort of trap!”
“Ah, Little John,” said Robin with a smile, “wise you are. I suspect the very same thing. Therefore we shall attend the contest in disguise.”
That night they set about getting their costumes in order. Robin decided he would dress as a one-eyed beggar. He fashioned an eye patch and dressed in rags. He even dyed his hair and beard a lighter color to be sure he wouldn’t be recognized.
Robin and his Merry Men arrived in Nottingham’s town square to find it packed. The square was also swarming with the
As he expected, Robin sailed through the first several rounds of the competition. He won every match. Soon he was in the final competition against an accomplished archer called Hugh o’ the Moors.Hugh was very good. The match came down to one final shot. Hugh o’ the Moors released a perfect arrow that hit the exact center of the target. The crowd reacted with a loud cheer.
It would take a miracle to beat that shot.
The one-eyed beggar stood poised and ready. The crowd looked on nervously as they saw a small grin creep across the archer’s face. He released his arrow and began to bow almost before the arrow reached its target. The crowd gasped as they tried to comprehend what they had just witnessed. The beggar’s shot was so perfect and true, it actually split Hugh o’ the Moor’s arrow in half. The beggar had won the competition. The silent crowd suddenly stood and exploded into cheers!
The Sheriff of Nottingham, having given up on finding Robin Hood, approached the beggar and his circle of friends at once. He awarded the beggar his prize.
“My friend,” said the sheriff, “that was as good an exhibition of an archer’s skill as anyone is likely to ever see. Not even that filthy outlaw Robin Hood could have beaten that. I insist that you join me for a celebration feast at my home.”
Robin tried to hide his laughter. “It would be my pleasure, Sheriff,” he said. “May I impose to invite my friends as well? It wouldn’t be a celebration without them.”
“Of course,” said the sheriff. “In fact, I insist.”Robin Hood and his Merry Men followed the sheriff to his home. That night Robin and his men enjoyed the sheriff’s food and drink. They stayed late into the night and took turns sneaking off to other rooms in the sheriff’s home to steal anything of value they could find. As the night wore down, Robin and his men bid the sheriff good night.
The sheriff smiled while thinking about the enjoyable night he had just spent with the winner of his archery contest. At the very moment the sheriff leaned to blow out a candle for the night, an arrow whizzed by his ear, lodging itself into the painting that hung just inches from his head. The sheriff saw a note hanging from the arrow.
The sheriff felt a sick feeling sneak into his belly as he read the note out loud: “Sheriff, it was Robin Hood who won the contest and dined at your home this night. And it was the Merry Men who stole so many of your possessions while you gave them food and drink. Thank you for the evening.”
For many months, the sheriff tried in vain to capture the elusive Robin Hood.
One day Robin was in a fresh disguise, working in the village of Nottingham peddling pots for a potter who lacked the energy to do so on his own. Robin was very charming and sold every one of the potter’s pots, earning a pretty penny for the old man.
One of the villagers who happened to take a shine to Robin was the wife of the
sheriff. So touched was she by Robin’s caring nature that she invited him to dinner that night. Robin graciously accepted.
Before heading to the sheriff’s for dinner, Robin gathered
his Merry Men in the forest. He had a plan. If this worked, the sheriff would surely double his efforts to catch Robin Hood and all of his men. Robin arrived at the sheriff’s home in his potter disguise. The sheriff and
his wife were very gracious, serving a wonderful feast. Not long into dessert, however, the conversation turned to Robin Hood. The sheriff noted his hatred for the outlaw.
He particularly hated that everyone loved him.
“I wish I had known of your distaste for that villain, Sheriff,” said Robin Hood. “For just this morning I myself shot and wounded him with my very own arrow. In fact, I have his bow outside on my horse.”
Not believing what he heard, the sheriff followed the man outside. Sure enough, he had the most beautiful archer’s bow known to Nottingham. It was Robin Hood’s, all right.
“He’s wounded, you say?” said the sheriff. “You must take me to him at once.”
Robin and the sheriff rode side by side into Sherwood Forest. As they reached a clearing and jumped down from their horses, Robin pulled a horn out from under his cape and blew. The sound was a signal to his men, and in no time, the sheriff found himself surrounded.
“I’m afraid you’ve been duped again, Sheriff,” said Robin Hood.
They robbed the sheriff, giving a satchel of gold to the old potter. The next day they would give the rest of the gold to the poor people of Nottingham.
Tonight, however, Robin and his men enjoyed their victory over the sheriff with
a great feast. The war wasn’t over, but Robin and his men had won this battle.