TELL ME A STORY
Outlaw, maiden find love in perilous wood
Adapted by Amy Friedman
Adapted by Amy Friedman
"Robin Hood and Maid Marian" is an English legend.
There was a time when Robin Hood, the famous outlaw, was a nobleman, Lord of Locksley. He lived near Sherwood Forest, where, one day, he went out hunting and came upon a maiden wearing a dress as green as the spring leaves.
Robin gazed at her, entranced; her face was the loveliest he had ever seen, and he thought she must be a princess.
But the longer he looked at her, the more he could see that this woman had not one touch of false pride, and that she held her bow and quiver as if she had been born to hunt. He watched her fierce concentration. He was staring at her beautiful hair, as black as ink, and at her gaze, which was wise and open.
At once he knew he would always love her.
Robin learned her name was Marian. She was the daughter of the Earl of Fitzwalter, who lived in a castle near Robin's home. He introduced himself, and before long he and Marian went hunting. They walked, shared stories, and fell in love. When Marian agreed to marry Robin, he thought he was the happiest man in the world.
But before they could marry, Nottingham's sheriff cheated Robin out of his fortune, forcing Robin to flee to the forest.
Robin was now poor and without any belongings, but he was wise and crafty. He swore to take revenge on all who stole and lied and cheated other folk, protecting those unable to protect themselves. Life would be fine, except for one thing. He could never ask Marian to live with him, for he no longer had a home to share with her.
And so, his heart breaking, he wrote to Marian and broke their engagement.
Robin's life as an outlaw began. One by one he gathered his band of Merry Men, and with his trusted right-hand man, Little John, and his friends Will Scarlet, Much the Miller and Friar Tuck, Robin Hood became the man everyone knew about.
Time passed. Robin never spoke to anyone of Marian, but he never stopped thinking of her.
And Marian had never stopped thinking of Robin, and at long last decided to find him. She disguised herself as a young knight, tucking her hair in her helmet. With a sword for protection, she set out into the forest to find her beloved.
At the same time, Robin, also disguised, was in the forest.
One bright, spring day — the sort of day that made Robin sad, for it reminded him of meeting Marian — he was hunting and dreaming of his long-ago love.
When Robin happened upon a young man in the forest, he disguised his voice, calling out, "Stop, you there! What is your name, where are you going?"
It was Marian, but Robin didn't recognize her, and she didn't recognize him. His voice sounded so gruff, she feared that he meant to harm her and drew her sword.
When Robin saw that, he too drew his sword.
The two began to fight. Robin was taller and stronger, but Marian was a master with her sword. He was amazed by the young knight's speed and artistry. Robin thought to himself, "How I wish this man were part of my band of men."
They fought a half-hour, when finally Robin cut Marian's arm, and Marian scratched his cheek.
"Halt then," Robin called, for he had begun to feel sorry for the young knight. But he forgot to disguise his voice. "Robin," Marian gasped. "Can it be you?"
Now Robin, too, recognized it was Marian, the love of his life.
Robin threw back his hood, and Marian flung down the her helmet, letting her hair fall. When they saw each other without their disguises, they laughed, wept and embraced. Marian swore she would never again let him leave her. She, too, would live in the wood.
The two walked toward the trysting tree, the place where Robin and his Merry Men gathered, and when Robin told the tale to Little John, Little John knelt and took her hand in his.
"Lady Marian," he said, "you shall be our queen, for Robin is our king. And now, we must celebrate!"
And so it was that in that forest, on that lovely spring day, Robin and his sweetheart and all their friends danced and sang and celebrated love.