by Little John and Elizabeth Hensley Many people do not realize Robin Hood was a real Person, or I should say, “is” because he is no doubt in Heaven. The following is a true story. The first part is supposed to be by Little John and may indeed be so.
The second part, “the rest of the story” is by me because what happened to Robin Hood’s bones a few hundred years after his death is fascinating and amusing and should become part of his legend. Because it is such a fitting thing to have happened to his bones because it let him evade a Sheriff one more time
LITTLE JOHN’S PART OF THE BALLAD. Down a down a down a down We have shot for many a pound, Went oer yon bank of broom, Said Robin Hood bold to Little John, But I am not able to shoot one shot more,
My broad arrows will not flee; .But I have a cousin lives down below, Please God she will bleed me. NOW Robin he is to fair Kirkly gone, And when he came to fair Kirkly Hall, He knocked all at the ring, But none was so ready as his Cousin herself For to let bold Robin in
Will you please sit down, Cousin Robin,’ And drink a beer with me? ‘No, I will neither eat nor drink, Till I have been blooded by thee’ "Well, I have a room Cousin Robin,’
She said, ‘Which you did never see, And if you please to walk therein, You blooded by me shall be. She took him by the Lilly-white hand And let him to a private room, And there she blooded bold Robin Hood, While one drop of blood would run down,
She blooded him in a vein of the arm, And locked him up in the room; Then did he bleed all the live-long day,untiil the next day at noon. he then bethought him of a casement there, Thing for to get down But was so weak, he could not leap, He could not get him down.
He then bethought him of his bugle-horn, Which hung lown down to his knee; and he set his horn unto his mouth and blew out weak blasts three. Then Little John, when hearing him, As he sat under a tree. ‘I fear my master is now near dead, He blows so wearily.
Then Little John to fair Kirkly is gone, As fast as he can dree; But when he came to Kirkly-Hall, He broke locks two or three: Until he came to bold Robin to see, Then he fell on his knee. A Boon, a boon,’ cries Little John, Master, beg of thee.
‘What is that boon?’ said Robin Hood,‘ Little John (Thou) beg of me? ’‘It is to burn Kirkly-Hall, and all their nunnery.’ ‘Now nay, now nay,’ quoth Robin Hood,‘Than boon I’ll not grant thee; ‘I never hurt a women in all my life, Nor men in a woman’s company.
‘I never hurt fair maid in all my time, Nor at mine end shall it be; But give me my bent bow in my hand, And an arrow I’ll let flee; And where this arrow is taken up, There shall my grave digged be. Lay me a green sod under my head,
And another at my feet; And lay mey bent bow by my side, Which was my music sweet. And make my grave of gravel and green, Which is most right and meet ‘Let me have length and breadth enough, With a green sod under my head; that they may say when I am dead,
Here lies bold Robin Hood.’ These words they readily granted him, Which did bold Robin please: And there they buried bold Robin Hood, Within the fair Kirklys.
Thus he who never feared bow or spear Was murdered by letting blood; So loving friend, the story ends Of valiant Robin Hood There’s nothing remains but his epithet now, Which reader you now have. To this very day, which read you may, As it is upon his grave.
Robert Earl of Huntington Lies under this little stone No archer was like him so good His wildness nam’d him Robin Hood Full thirteen years and something more These northern parts he vexed sore: Such out-laws as he and his men Hey derry down a derry derry down.
The gatehouse at Kirklees Priory, from where Robin is said to have fired
With the blue blue sky And the green green grass Above him! And the rains fell sweet and the cold winds blew And the Sun warmed his bones And kept them. And the wildflowers grew and the lilies pure
And springs and winters came and swept them. Angels and gods and the Good Lord Himself Knew where he lay, But as for Man They did forget him! (For the stone they put to mark his bones Were not where they’d really set them.) For his men had bragged a tad too much
Of the length of his last arrow’s flight. But one day in the month of May A Gardener came a digging. His shovel hit a cold white stone And that stone was Robin’s shinbone! And his face went white when he saw the skull!
To know a fellow man was resting! Resting besides great, green oaks! Beneath the grass! Beneath the skies! Peaceably a nesting! Where he had lay a rest for Five hundred years!
When Kings and Queens Had come and gone around him! And Kirklees abbess That had caused such mirth Had become a private dwelling! The Gardener ran like The wind to tell his Maid!
And the Maid ran and fetched the Sheriff! The Sheriff came and collected his bones. So the law finally had our Robin! Oh the law finally had! The law finally had The law finally had our Robin! But clever Robin though dead and cold And nothing more than a pile of bones
Lay there just as clever as a thing of dust As he had been when he was lively! So again he slipped away! Slipped away! Slipped away! For even as ashes our Robin can dance! Oh yes! Even as dust our Robin can dance!
And he danced a dance with the Dust of a dozen others! So to this day no Sheriff knows the whereabouts Of Robin Earl of Huntington And in Heaven his Laughing spirit Still dances! And the other Merry Men too And Little John loudest of all!
To clarify: The 18th century Sheriff determined that the bones were old, but he was not aware of the story of Robin Hood, at least not enough to know where he had been buried. The man just determined if it had been a murder it had happened centuries earlier, so catching what we would call the perps in his time was not doable.
So he had the bones cremated and they were literally mixed with other cremains that no longer were of interest to this 18th century CSI (and the relatives were either not findable or too poor to afford a better send off.) Then they were taken to what is for us, an unknown location and disposed of. So Robin got away again! And yes, again I remind you this is indeed a true story.