Who was Robin Hood?

It is not often that we make a hero of a robber, But Robin hood somehow seems to be different. Everybody know it is wrong to steal, yet Robin Hood is admired. The reason for this, of course is that he stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

Did Robin Hood ever actually exist? We know that he was a favorite figure in the ballads and stories of England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. He was supposed to have lived in the twelfth century. In a Latin history which appeared in the year 1521, this is what was written about Robin Hood:

“About the time of Richard I, Robin Hood and Little John, the most famous of robbers, were lurking in the woods and stealing only from rich men; they killed none except those who resisted them or came to attack them.”

“All England sings of the deeds of this Robin; he would not allow any woman to be hurt, nor did he ever take the goods from the poor; indeed he kept them richly supplied with the goods he stole from the abbots.”

One of can see how such a character must have captured the imagination of the people of that period, because they loved chivalry and archery. Robin pleased them and they built around his name one legend after another. They made him a great sportsman, a wonderful archer, and a lover of the green woods where he lived.

There are many theories about Robin Hood. One of these suggests that he was a Saxon, and among the last of those who held out against the Normans when they conquered England.

It seems certain that a Robbin Hood really did exist. But it is also pretty certain that many of the stories that existed in other legends came to be told about Robin Hood.

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