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Robin Hood

Click to return to index    Author:  J. Walker McSpadden
Copyright Date:  1923, 1946
Publisher:  The World Publishing Co.
Pagination:  287 p.

H O W   R O B I N   H O O D   B E C A M E   A N   O U T L A W

List and hearken, gentlemen,
     That be of free-born blood,
I shall you tell of a good yeoman
     His name was Robin Hood.
Robin was a proud outlaw,
     While as he walked on the ground:
So courteous an outlaw as he was one
     Was never none else found.

In the days of good King Harry the Second of England—he of the warring sons—there were certain forests in the north country set aside for the King’s hunting, and no man might shoot deer therein under penalty of death. These forests were guarded by the King’s Foresters, the chief of whom, in each wood, was no mean man but equal in authority to the Sheriff in his walled town, or even to my lord Bishop in his abbey.
     One of the greatest of royal preserves was Sherwood and Barnesdale forests near the two towns of Nottingham and Barnesdale. Here for some years dwelt one, Hugh Fitzooth as Head Forester, with his good wife and little son Robert. The boy had been born in Lockesley town—in the year 1160, stern records say,—and was often called Lockesley, or Rob of Lockesley. He was a comely, well-kit stripling, and as soon as he was strong enough to walk his chief delight was to go with his father into the forest. As soon as his right arm received thew and sinew he learned to draw the long bow and speed a true arrow. While on winter evenings his greatest joy was to hear his father tell of bold Will o’ the Green, the outlaw, who for many summers defied the King’s Foresters and feasted with his men upon King’s deer. And on other stormy days the boy learned to whittle out a straight shaft for the long bow, and tip it with gray goose feathers.
     The fond mother sighed when she saw the boy’s face light up at these woodland tales. She was of gentle birth, and had hoped to see her son famous at court or abbey. She taught him to read and write, to doff his cap without awkwardness and to answer to directly and truthfully both lord and peasant. But the boy, although he took kindly to these lessons of breeding, was yet happiest when he had his beloved bow in hand and strolled at will, listening to the murmur of the trees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Excerpt from the Introduction by May Lamberton Becker
     Adventures such as these suit the adventurous spirit of Louis Slobodkin, who made for them these robust, exciting pictures. His grandfather was a cowboy in the Ukraine, his father an inventor in Albany. When he was ten he made his first piece of sculpture—Benjamin Franklin in modelling wax, complete with spectacles. It was as an architectural sculptor that his fame began; his heroic bronze of Lincoln is in the Department of the Interior at Washington. Meanwhile he had shipped as a deckhand to the Argentine on a freighter and found inspiration for his work among the sailors; his statue of the ship’s carpenter with his concertina was sent around this country and then to England with the Good-Will Tour of American Sculpture. In 1941 he made a brilliant entry into illustration of children’s books and three years later won the Caldecott Medal for his illustration of James Thurber’s Many Moons. The life of the beloved outlaw Robin Hood has given Slobodkin an outlet for his own bounding vitality and love of fun, while his warm interest in the period brings back for us the flavor and character of the time in which that daring outlaw lived.

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