Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race
Page: 184Robin’s Impatience
In the meantime Robin had waited patiently at the trysting tree till noon, but when the hour passed and Sir Richard had not appeared he began to grow impatient. “Master, let us dine,” said Little John. “I cannot; I fear Our Lady is angered with me, for she has not sent me my money,” returned the leader; but his follower replied: “The money is not due till sunset, master, and Our Lady is true, and so is Sir Richard; have no fear.” “Do you three walk up through the willow plantation to Watling Street, as you did last year, and bring me a guest,” said Robin Hood. “He may be a messenger, a minstrel, a poor man, but he will come in God’s name.”
The Monks Approach
Again the three yeomen, Little John, Will Scarlet, and Much the miller’s son, took bow in hand and set out for Watling Street; but this time they had not long to wait, for they at once saw a little procession approaching. Two black monks rode at the head; then followed seven sumpter-mules and a train of fifty-two men, so that the clerics rode in almost royal state. “Seest thou yon monks?” said Little John. “I will pledge my soul that they have brought our pay.” “But they are fifty-four, and we are but three,” said Scarlet. “Unless we bring them to dinner we dare not face [Pg 330] our master,” cried Little John. “Look well to your bows, your strings and arrows, and have stout hearts and steady hands. I will take the foremost monk, for life or death.”
The Capture of the Black Monk
The three outlaws stepped out into the road from the shelter of the wood; they bent their bows and held their arrows on the string, and Little John cried aloud: “Stay, churlish monk, or thou goest to thy death, and it will be on thine own head! Evil on thee for keeping our master fasting so long.” “Who is your master?” asked the bewildered monk; and Little John replied: “Robin Hood.” The monk tossed his head. “He is a foul thief,” cried he, “and will come to a bad end. I have heard no good of him all my days.” So speaking, he tried to ride forward and trample down the three yeomen; but Little John cried: “Thou liest, churlish monk, and thou shalt rue the lie. He is a good yeoman of this forest, and has bidden thee to dine with him this day”; and Much, drawing his bow, shot the monk to the heart, so that he fell to the ground dead. The other black monk was taken, but all his followers fled, except a little page, and a groom who tended the sumpter-mules; and thus, with Little John’s help and guidance, the panic-stricken cleric and his train of baggage were brought to Robin under the trysting tree.