Dear Cousin - Prioress of the Kirlees Nunnery

My life has been quite good until just recently. In this fine month of May, our Sheriff of Nottingham declared a shooting match where the best shot would win a great barrel of ale. I thought it a good idea to try the match, for I not only would win the ale but also the smile of Maid Marion.

It was dawn and I was strolling through the forest whistling and thinking of the fair Maid Marion when I came upon a group of fifteen of the king's foresters underneath a large oak. They were all dressed in Lincoln green (a color I am most fond of as you know) and they were feasting with ale and meat pies. One of these rotten men asked me where I was off to with my bow and arrows. I told him that I was off to the shooting match to win the prize and they all laughed at me calling me a boasting infant. They said that I couldn't win. They pressed my temper.

I placed a bet that I could take down the best dear in a herd from a distance of sixty yards or more. So I took my bow, strung it, notched an arrow and shot from the distance that I'd said. I hit the dear and killed it just as I'd bet. Then I turned and boasted to the foresters who grew angry at losing. The foresters remained silent so I turned to leave. Immediately after I turned, an arrow from one of the men flew past my head and startled me half to death. Apparently I had killed one of the king's dear that was under their protection. Well, by instinct, I turned back and shot an arrow in the man's direction. Being the accurate shooter that I am, I shot him right in a fatal spot and he fell—moaning till he died.

Before the others could recover from shock, I ran into the Sherwood Forest—where I now remain with my cold, sad, broken heart. I am still finding it hard to believe that I killed that man—cruel or not he's still a human being and I will forever regret the day that I killed him.

Sincerely your cousin,

Robin Hood

Dear Cousin - Prioress of the Kirlees Nunnery

I know it has been long since I have written, so forgive me. Over the time that I didn't write I found many men who had found trouble with the Sherriff just as I have. With these men, I have created a merry band of GOOD outlaws who steal from the rich and greedy and give to the poor and honest. We also go on grand adventures for pleasure.

Just a day or two ago, I went seeking for adventure and found probably my greatest merry man yet. On my stroll I met a stranger at the narrow log bridge. The stranger was tall like I am—only this man was much taller and fit. He was at least seven feet tall with broad shoulders and strong arms. The both of us walked towards each other till we met at the center of the log bridge. I demanded that he back off of the bridge so that I, the better man, may cross. He refused me, saying that he was the better man and insisting that I back off of the bridge. After a while of us boasting to each other, I decided to challenge him to a staff duel. He accepted and happily waited while I sharpened a tree branch to bout with.

The bout was several hours long and very tiresome. We fought and fought without either man being bruised or scratched until finally the man knocked me into the stream. Humiliated I summoned my men and immediately they came. I asked him to join my band of men and he said that he would join if one of the band men could shoot an arrow better than he could. The fool didn't know that I am the best archer in all of Sherwood.

We shot at a target painted onto a nearby tree. The stranger shot an arrow strait into the center and all cheered. Then I stepped up and readied my bow. I aimed and shot right in the center, splitting the stranger's arrow in two. My band cheered louder for my shot than they did for the stranger's shot. The tall man accepted the invitation to join my band, and he introduced himself as John little. Will Stutely, the silly ole' man, decided to change John Little's name to Little John. And so, in christening him Little John of Sherwood by pouring a cup of ale upon his head, he became my right hand man.

Sincerely your cousin,

Robin Hood

Dear Cousin - Prioress of the Kirlees Nunnery

Just a little bit ago, the Sherriff declared another shooting match. The prize was a golden arrow. Not long after I heard about the match, the young David of Doncaster came to me in the forest to warn me that it was a trap. Of course, I already knew this, but I decided to go anyway.

On the day of this shooting match, I prepared myself by dying my hair walnut, pulling a patch over my eye, and wearing a cape to conceal my Lincoln green clothes. — It probably wouldn't take much of a disguise to fool the dumb Sherriff, though. — Anyway, I then headed to the village accompanied by several of my disguised men who dispersed among the crowd. If anything was to go wrong, my men were to be ready to fight.

At the match were many famous archers such as: Gill o' the Red Cap and Adam o' the Dell. Indeed they shot well, but I pulled the winning shot and received the golden arrow. I found it quite funny that, after the match, the Sherriff regarded my skill and asked me to join his service. He was asking me to help hunt myself! I obviously declined by telling him that no man is my master. —Which I think angered him slightly.

Because I didn't appear at the match as myself, the Sherriff likely decided that I, Robin Hood, was a coward. Of course I didn't like this, so back in the forest I consulted Little John about the situation. He told me that he and Will Stutely would send the news of Robin Hood winning the match in disguise to the Sherriff by tying a note to a blunted arrow's shaft and shooting it through one of the castle's windows. I thought this was a good idea and tried to imagine what the Sherriff's reaction would be. —It would be quite a sight!

Sincerely your cousin,

Robin Hood

Dear Cousin - Prioress of the Kirlees Nunnery

Recently, I took some revenge on my "dear friend" the Sherriff of Nottingham. I was bored of there being no adventures in almost a year, so I decided to go off and find some. On my way to the village, I met a butcher with his cart of meat who was headed towards the Nottingham market. I needed a disguise before I entered the village, so I bought the man's clothes, cart, and meat supplies then continued to the village.

When I got to the village, I set up the cart and began to slice meat. Through the day I got a surprising amount of customers. I sold the meat for a low price and charged nothing from the poor or widowed. When a pretty girl came, I asked for only a kiss. The other butchers had no business and I believe a few of them were angry with me.

Later that day, the Sherriff invited all of the butchers to the castle for a feast. While there, the Sherriff asked me to sit next to him, obviously not recognizing me in my disguise. Before we ate, the Sherriff asked me to say grace. I stood and said, "May Heaven bless us and the food, and may all butchers be as honest as I." Everyone laughed at that, and I thought it to be quite humorous as well.

During the meal, I had a rather good time teasing the Sherriff and joking around. The Sherriff engaged in conversation by asking me about my wealth. I told him that my brothers and I have more than five hundred deer but have not been able to sell a single one of them. The Sherriff seemed excited about this and he immediately offered to buy them all for three hundred pounds. I overheard some of the other butchers silently protesting and saying the deer shouldn't be sold for less than seven hundred pounds, but I accepted the offered deal. I had a great plan.

The Sherriff and I arranged to see the deer that very day. As we rode through the forest, I noticed the Sheriff seemed uneasy, so I said, "There is no need to worry, Robin Hood is a good friend. He's as harmless as I." So we continued forward until we came upon a herd of brownish-grayish deer. The Sherriff wanted to go but I grabbed his reigns and told him he had to meet my brothers for they shared the ownership of the deer with me. Then I blew my horn three times and Little John came with the rest of the band.

We took the Sherriff to the big oak tree where a feast was prepared for our guest. After a while of drinking ale and eating good food, the Sherriff began to enjoy himself. Following the feast were many merry games. The Sherriff seemed to like these games for at one point he was cheering for the tinker that he had sent to arrest me awhile back. In all of the fun, I hadn't forgotten the money that the Sherriff carried. After the day was over, I had Little John count out the money; then I sent the Sherriff on his way telling him that if he ever wants to swindle a young man out of his money, remember the feast he had in Sherwood Forest. The lesson that was taught that night to the Sherriff was that a man is often ruined by his own greed.

Sincerely your cousin,

Robin Hood

Dear Cousin - Prioress of the Kirlees Nunnery

I recently came upon a young lad named Allen a Dale. This young man's sweetheart had been betrothed to another man which made Allen a Dale very upset. My men and I had him join the band of outlaws, and then we decided to help him take back his lover. We created a plan to crash the wedding and marry the two young people. We needed a friar to help validate the vows. Allen a Dale told us of a Friar Tuck who lived in Fountain Dale and told us that the trip to see him would be only half a day's walk.

At dawn the next morning Little John, Will Scarlet, Arthur a Bland, David of Doncaster, and I set out to meet the Friar of Fountain Dale. When we got to a large clearing just ahead of the Friar's home, I told the other men that I wished to go on alone. As I got nearer to the Friar, I heard two men talking to each other. I looked over a nearby ledge and saw that it was the merry Friar talking to himself by a river. When the Friar began to sing, I joined in and sang along then jumped off the ledge to meet him.

I asked him how well he knew the land and asked if he knew the Fountain Abbey. He said that he knew both, just a little. I saw that I would have to cross the river to get to the Abbey, but I didn't want to get myself wet. I asked the Friar to carry me piggy-back across the river. At first he seemed angry with me and started to tell me off, but then he paused and gladly agreed to carry me. Then I climbed onto his back and he waded into the water.

About halfway through, the Friar stopped and leaned over, throwing me forward into the water with a loud splash. When we were both on shore, we drew our swords and began to fight. We fought for about an hour and I found this ole' Friar quite an opponent. When I realized how bad it would be if I harmed a friar—and when I could handle no more of his swordsmanship—I immediately stopped the fight. With permission, I blew my horn and my men came. The Friar then blew a whistle on his rosary and a pack of four hounds came to attack me. Startled, I jumped into a tree. The dogs then moved on to attack the other men. As they shot their arrows, the dogs caught them in their mouths and snapped them in two. At all this, Will Scarlet stepped forth and calmed the dogs down. The Friar then recognized Will Scarlet and asked if we needed him in any way. We took the Friar back to Sherwood and on the way we explained the situation of Allen a Dale and his lady.

Our mission to reunite Allen a Dale and his lover was a success. We crashed the wedding and Friar Tuck helped them say their vows. While we were there, I met a bishop who didn't look too kindly. I am not sure how he got messed up in this business, and I hope he does not prove to be a future enemy of my merry band. It would be a shame if we ended up fighting a man of the church, corrupt or not.

Sincerely your cousin,

Robin Hood

Dear Cousin - Prioress of the Kirlees Nunnery

Just yesterday, I had a horrifying encounter. My right hand man, Little John, and I both got ourselves almost killed. This whole story happened because of the thieving no-good Sherriff.

It all started when I woke up to the singing of birds. I felt ready for a great adventure, not knowing that the very day could have been my last. Excitedly I shook Little John awake. We agreed to go on separate roads then departed. I walked until a large man in a black horse hide jumped out in front of me. The man carried a huge sword, a dagger, and a bow. He wore the horse hide over his head and the ears of the horse stood up like those of a hare. He pulled off his hood, revealing his dark eyes and wicked sneer. I looked at him, terrified but fierce. I said to him, "Look at daylight for the last time!" and then I attacked.

I knew that there was no way to get out of this one of the Sherriff's traps. I wouldn't be able to convince this man to join my band and he would show no mercy to me. Pretty soon the grass was trampled and stained with the villain's blood. I was starting to get worn out from the harsh fight, but the other man seemed unchanged except for the few cuts of which I gave him. He then swung a deadly strike at me, but I stepped back out of the way. When I stepped back, I caught my foot in a root and fell hard on my back. The man swung his sword downward at me, but I stopped the blade with my hand. The sword dug into my palm, giving me a long burning gash that let out deep red blood.

It seemed like a bad move, but it gave me enough time to stand and stab him under his arm with my good hand. The assassin staggered then fell to the ground moaning in pain. He moaned for only a few seconds then fell silent. I stood over him and then recognized him as the evil killer, Guy of Gisbourne. I quietly said to myself, "I was upset at killing the forester in my youth, but killing you was a joy, Guy of Gisbourne." Even though there was blood caked on them, I put on the dead man's garments. With the new fool proof disguise I could take my revenge on the Sherriff and remain unsuspected.

It was a convenient disguise to use when in a hurry; nobody bothered me, but rather parted the way. When I entered the village, there were many crowds, for there was to be a "great" hanging. As before, people parted for me as I made my way to the hanging tree. At the hanging tree I saw Little John with dyed white hair and a friar's cloak, tied up at the base of the tree. I told the Sherriff, who was standing nearby, that I would kill him as part of my reward. Then I approached Little John as if to execute my plan. I saw the fear and dread that was in his eyes. When I was close enough to whisper to him, beneath my breath I said to him in reassurance, "Peace I bring. Did you not recognize me?" I then threw my hood off, revealing myself, and blew on my horn to summon my men. As this happened, I cut Little John's ties. When Will Stutely arrived with the rest of the band, the Sherriff and his men cowered in fear and road off on their horses. It will be quite a memory, one that will terrify me for the rest of my life.

Sincerely your cousin,

Robin Hood

Dear Cousin - Prioress of the Kirlees Nunnery

Yet another long while until any adventures had occurred. But over time they did come. Two months after Little John and I came near death, King Richard decided to pay a visit to the Sherriff. This caused the villagers to go into quite a panic. It was the day that he arrived when our adventure started.

I was in the town, intertwined with the crowd, when the King arrived. Accompanying me was Little John, Will Scarlet, Allen a Dale, Will Stutely, and a few other men. It was quite a grand celebration. There were colorful banners and loud trumpeters announcing the King's arrival. With the King were many knights, pages, and squires from his royal court. King Richard had a regal appearance to him. He had yellow hair and a yellow beard, he had blue eyes, and his robes were clearly of royalty. My band and I have always carried a great respect for him because he is a good man who commits good deeds like our own. After the ceremony, we went back to the forest to celebrate.

The next morning, I was patrolling the forest when I heard a man say, "Right now, I would pay anyone fifty pounds if he could give me a drink." I took this as an invitation and leaped out to greet the traveler. I saw what I thought to be seven friars on horseback. I grabbed the bridle rein of the leader's horse. I told him that I would take up the request and for the money he would feast at our inn. I blew my horn to summon my men, then took the Friar's purse and handed it to Will Scarlet to count. I told him to keep half and return the rest. The Friar said that there was no need for force and he came with us willingly.

When we arrived at the oak tree, Friar Tuck came forth and greeted the new comers. We brought out the fine ale and made a toast to King Richard. We then had a great meal, which was followed by a game. The game we chose was a bow and arrow match. There was a shooting target set up, with a center only four finger's wide. Those who didn't hit the center of the target would get a clout from Will Scarlet.

Each man shot well, though a few received a punch that left them sitting in the grass. At last it was my turn. I grabbed the last arrow and saw that it was very badly feathered. I knew this arrow would miss any target but decided to try my luck. I pulled back the string and aimed, and then I swear a gust of wind came just as I let the arrow fly. It whistled through the air and missed the target altogether! Will Scarlet called me over to get what was coming to me, but I decided that I wanted my punishment to come from the new Friar. I took a risk and said that if the Friar can knock me to the ground I would give back all of his money. So I stepped up in front of the Friar and prepared for the worst. He took a blow and I almost screamed in pain; I fell to the earth with an awful thud. When I got to my senses and Will Scarlet began to count out the money, Little John and sixty of my men rushed into the clearing where we were. With them was Sir Richard of Lea. He came out and said that the King was on his way into the forest and we needed to hide until the danger past. Then he turned white and fell to his knees, right in front of the tall, head Friar. The Friar pulled off his hood and we all knelt before him, for we recognized that he was King Richard.

After that, King Richard invited Little John, Will Scarlet, Allen a Dale, and I to serve him in his court as royal rangers and has also granted each of us a full pardon. We all accepted and now we are parted with Sherwood Forest. I will miss my old life, but I greatly look forward to living as a free man. This will be a huge change for not only me but the whole crowd. For the first time in many years, the outlawed band of Robin Hood's merry men will be disbanded and free.

Sincerely your cousin,

Robin Hood

~Written from the Court of King Richard~

Dear Merry Men of the Sherwood Forest,

I am very sad to be the one to bear such bad news, but it has to be said. It is already known that after a year of being in the service of King Richard, Will Scarlet and I left the kingdom to continue our lives at home. Will Scarlet went to live with his family, and I came back to Sherwood to live near the tree which we once had many adventures under. Recently, though, dear Robin Hood came to the forest with Allan a Dale for a last look at the home of the merry band of men that he led. I did not know that he was here until I heard a loud blast from his old horn. I immediately dropped what I was doing and ran to the big tree that sits in the clearing where we used to reside. When I got there, I was surprised to see, not only Robin, but those of you that still lived nearby. It was a sad reunion; Robin, Allen a Dale, many of you, and even I, cried at the happy memories of our past.

Because of the sadness and the remembering of the old days, Robin Hood grew very ill. It got to the point where he needed to have his blood let. He said that he had a cousin that is skilled in this, and she is the prioress of the nunnery in Kirlees. I brought Robin to the nunnery to see his cousin, the prioress, and to have his blood let. When we got there, Robin's cousin seemed a little on edge. She welcomed Robin abruptly and brought him straight up to a room in the tower. I tried to follow, but she responded to this angrily, and told me to stay outside the nunnery. So I left, not knowing that Robin was walking directly to his demise.

After I went outside, I heard the door lock behind me. It was probably by the prioress' orders. I waited nearby for about an hour, and then I heard a horn blow and ran to the nunnery. When I got there, the door was bolted shut. I grabbed a long stone block and rammed the door several times before the entrance cleared. Once it was open, I ran up the tower to where Robin was. He was leaning against the cold stone wall, just next to the window, looking out into the field and forest. His face was thin and pale. His knees were quivering and he looked like he might collapse at any moment. I laid him down in the bed that was beside him, then I propped him up so he could still see out the window. He took my hands and told me that he would never walk in the forest again. This brought tears to my eyes indeed. Robin asked me to string his bow and fit a good arrow to it. I did this and handed it to him. His last words were, "My good friend, Little John, watch this arrow fly, and dig my grave on the spot where it lands."

And so, our dear friend, Robin Hood, died in the tower of the Kirlees nunnery, in the year of 1247, with a bow in his hands, looking out into the woods of England. He will always be remembered cherished by us. Be sure to pass down the stories of Robin Hood's merry adventures to your children and to your children's children.

Farwell Robin Hood of the Sherwood Forest

~Little John~