A Greenwood Tale by Ness Ayton

First appeared in "The Alternative Robin of Sherwood Zine". Sorry but I can't get verse breaks to stay put so instead of verses of four lines it goes on and on!


'Twas an ordinary day in the forest.

The outlaws were lounging around,

When suddenly from over the tree tops

Came an awfully horrible sound.

Robin, their leader and hero,

Leapt straight away to his feet.

While Much and John and the others

Beat a fast line of retreat.

Deep in his cave in the forest,

Herne's knees did tremble and shake;

After all it was not very often

That the trees were shook by an earthquake!

"Grab your bows," Robin did order,

"We'll go find the source of this sound."

But in glancing across at the others

Found them lying prostrate on the ground.

"Now come on and get up," cried Robin,

"You're outlaws ferocious and bold,

What good are you doing in leaf piles

Getting all mouldy and cold?!"

"Not on your life," they all answered,

Grovelling amongst the dead shrubs.

"We'll stay here, all beautifully hidden,

Watching the lives of these grubs!"

So Robin nocked up his bowstring

And set off alone to his fate,

Wondering what lay in the forest

And if he was going to end up as bait.

Silent and cautious he sped on,

Looking neither to right nor to left;

But without John and the others

He felt just a little bereft.

All of a sudden he faltered

As a large shape hove into sight.

His nerves were all of a tingle,

Though he tried to hide his great fright.

The shape staggered on and fell over

A log, lying right in its way.

Robin could hardly believe it,

For Tuck, at his feet, now did lay.

He dragged the corpulent cleric

Straight away back through the trees

And into the green leafy clearing

Where Tuck let out a great sneeze.

"I've solved it!" Robin cried, all gleeful.

"I know what the sound was we heard.

Gather round y'all and pray listen,

I got this straight from a bird!"

"The noise that did us all frighten

Was nothing that serious or bad,

Just Tuck's stomach a-rumblin'.

Now you are safe, aren't you glad?"

The outlaws all muttered and mumbled,

Desperately shuffling their feet.

While Robin stood doubled with laughter

And Tuck fixed them something to eat.

'Twas an ordinary day in the forest

The outlaws were lounging around,

The birds and bees were a-singing

And that was the only sound!