The novel “Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” who got famous in Nottingham shire, author Howard Pyle wrote inspired by the tales and legends about a famous outlaw from the 13th century who was helping the poor by taking away from rich.
The existence of Robin Hood as a real historical figure hasn’t been proved, but despite that, it has been popular among readers for generations.
The novel consists out of 22 chapters, each of them describing one of the adventures of Robin Hood and his gang. Although they were outlaws participating in a lot of illegal actions, they are portrayed as heroes who are fighting for justice.
Robin Hood is described as a moral force, which role is deciding who should be punished and the what the punishment should be like. Although he is a law-defying criminal, he is a noble and an honest person who cares for the well-being of the poor and tries to repair the injustice they suffer from more powerful and wealthier people. The rest of his crew shares his opinion and attitude.
The plot takes place in medieval England where 18-year-old Robin accidentally kills some stranger and starts living as an outlaw in the Sherwood forest. He gathers around himself young outlaws, who are also noble and righteous and fight against the injustice of rich people.
The plot unfolds through episodes divided per chapters, each episode presenting another adventure of Robin Hood and his crew.
During the novel, the author often speaks to the readers while describing numerous adventures, usually with a lot of humor involved, making it more interesting. Although the novel is suitable for younger readers because of its perky tone, it ends with the death of the main character, as an unexpected plot twist.
Robin Hood and his company are described from their first union all the way to them falling apart, which lasted for many years. During that time, they fixed a lot of injustices, helped to the poor, punished the rich avoided all charges pressed against them and even got to experience living at the royal court, under king’s protection.
At the very end, they return back to their outlaw life in the forest, giving this novel a circuit plot structure because it begins and ends in the forest, assembling the crew and falling apart into a similar state as at the beginning.
The death of Robin Hood is described in last chapter, an epilog, but without it the novel would remain his circuit form and a happy end, describing Robin Hood and his companions as the kings respected servants with spotless reputation regained.
Genre: adventurous novel
Place: Sherwood forest, Nottingham
Time: medieval period
In Nottingham, England, during the reign of Henrik II, Robin Hood, and his merry companions were residing in the forest of Sherwood. Robin Hood was an outlaw loved by people because of his willingness to help. When he was eighteen years old, he decided to participate in a king’s archery contest, fighting for the beer as a first prize.
At his way, he met a gang of men who were making fun of his belief in victory. They were betting with him in testing his archery skills and lost, trying to hit him with an arrow but Robin manages to escape the drunk archers and even kill one of them. From that moment on he was an outlaw and a crook who stayed in the forest.
Besides that, he was accused of being a deer poacher as well, with his head prized for 200 pounds. The Nottingham Sheriff decided to be the one catching the Robin, so he could get the money prize and revenge the death of his cousin, an archer who Robin killed.
In the next year, a lot of other outlaws began to gather in the forest, soon electing Robin to be their leader. They’ve decided to steal from rich and give to the poor and all the others who experienced some kind of injustice.
They were always in the search of a good adventure, and one day Robin met a man while he was crossing the same bridge as he was. The bridge was narrow, with enough of space for only one person, and because no one wanted to step aside, they decided to have a duel. The man appeared to be equally strong as Robin so he offered him a place in his companion, named him Little John and made him sit at Robin’s right side during the dinner, giving him also a role of his main assistant.
The sheriff of Nottingham declared the warrant for arresting Robin Hood, providing also a wealthy prize for all the information about him as well. But everyone in Nottingham knew about Robin and didn’t want to betray him, so the sheriff sent a messenger to the town of Lincoln, where he could find someone who is willing to talk about Robin.
Messenger decided to rest in a pub where he met a group of people and told them about his mission of finding Robin Hood. One od the men from that group offered to find Robin Hood because he thought that would be easy, so he went in his search the next morning.
Soon he saw Robin Hood in the forest, but he didn’t know that was him so he listened to his story about a wicked and slick Robin Hood who could even steal his warrant. The man believed him and went with him to the local pub where everyone knew Robin, and when he got drunk, Robin stole his warrant, leaving them to pay for all the bills, although he already got that covered.
The next time they met, Robin Hood offered him a position in his company, and the man decided to join them. Sheriff soon heard about that incident and decided to punish the messenger sentencing him to death punishment. He asked king’s assistance and got declined because king thought he should be able for ruling at his territory by himself.
Sheriff decided to organize a tournament with wealthy prizes, trying to lurk, Robin Hood. Robin Hood decided to enter the competition but wearing a mask, because he was aware of sheriff’s plan. Sheriff was disappointed by Robin’s absence, but soon the masked contestant caught everyone’s attention.
After he won the tournament, sheriff himself handed him a prize, offering him a job and
describing Robin Hood as a poor archer and a coward. Masked Robin declined sheriff’s offer and even sent him a message to let him know he was the one who won the grand prize.
Sheriff got extremely offended so he sent his troops to the forest in a search for Robin and his people, who decided to lay low for a while. After a week, they sent Will Stutley dressed as a monk in a search for some information, but at a local pub sheriff’s soldiers recognized him as one of Robin’s men by seeing his green clothes showing underneath the habit.
They took him to Nottingham in order to hang him as a warning to the others, but Robin and the men come to rescue and defeated sheriff’s troops as well. Sheriff decided to stop persuading Robin after he was deceived for three times in a row.
Over the next year, Robin and his company were living peacefully, until one day Robin met a butcher and bought all of his meat, decided on selling it by himself at a local market. He soon became suspicious because of his low prices, so other sellers invited him to have a lunch with the sheriff.
Sheriff didn’t recognize him, but he offered to buy off his trade for some cheap money, trying to trick him. Robin took him to forest where his men surprised him and he had to pay a lot of money only to gain his freedom back. Robin told him that was a lesson for him to keep in mind if he ever tries to deceive someone in the future again.
Once every five years, there was an organized fair followed with a knight tournament. Robin Hood wasn’t competing because of the uninteresting prize, but Little John entered the contest and won. Sheriff didn’t recognize him because of the mask he was wearing, so he offered him a job, and Little John accepted.
After a couple of months, Little John got used to the lavishing lifestyle, becoming lazier and gaining weight. He got in a fight with the servant who refused to serve him breakfast, so he entered the pantry on his own, which resulted in another fight, this time with the chef. Servant’s stories enhanced chef’s fury against the Little John, but somehow they managed to solve their problem and Little John even invited the chef to join the company.
They returned to the forest together, bringing some of the silver plates and cutlery which belonged to the sheriff. Robin wasn’t approving that theft, so he made them return the stolen goods.
Robin Hood sent Little John to order new green uniforms for the group, but he went to the bar instead. Robin decided to search for him, but he met a deer poacher in the forest and started following him. The poacher soon got into a fight with Little John, defeating him and earning himself an invitation to their gang as well.
At their way back they stumble across a stranger wearing luxurious clothes, asking him to give them all of his possessions. The nobleman refused, and soon they found out he was seeking for Robin’s protection and a membership in their company because he murdered one of his father’s servants. Robin Hood advised him to change his name and named him Will Scarlett, inspired by the color of his clothes.
Then,the crew met a miller and tried to make a joke with him by pretending to be robbers, but he warned them his protection is secured by the Robin Hood and his gang and even threw them some flour in the face. Robin then introduced himself but miller believed him only when he saw the rest of the company arriving.
He became a member of the company as well, and then they threw a lavishing party, honoring all the new members of the companionship.The money supplies were getting short, so Robin sent a couple of the group members to search for someone who would pay the cost of the celebration. After a long search, they found a young man crying. That was Allan a Dale, a traveling singer who was in love with a girl promised to another man. The company promised to help him marrying the woman he loves, so he joined them as well.
Will Scarlett inspired them to find friar Tuck who would marry them and invite him to the company as well. At the wedding day, Robin stopped the ceremony dressed as a singer to announce the groom a bride is in love with someone else.Her father stood against it, but the groom let her go and father of the bride also agreed when Robin offered him some money.
The company was searching for people to invite to the wedding party, so Robin ran into knight Richard. He refused to participate because all of his property was pledged by the church as a guarantee of payment he should provide because his son murdered sir Walter at some tournament.
The rest of the company brought the bishop and the friars at the dinner, where Robin told them all about tragic destiny of knight Richard, asking for bishop’s help, who haven’t replied. Robin collected and offered all of the companion’s money to pay for sir Richard’s debt, who promised to return the money to them, considering it as a loan.
Early that spring, Little John, and Robin Hood went on a search for an adventure, dressed as a friar and a beggar. They went in different directions. Soon, John helped some ladies carrying their bags and then went to the pub, where everyone was buying him drinks and he was singing songs. A couple of real friars arrived, trying to shame Little John for his behavior inappropriate for the members of the clergy, but he made fun of them as well, making the others laugh.
Robin, on the other side, decided to switch his clothes with some beggar, in exchange for some meal. Dressed in his clothes he went on searching for adventure, but soon he met a group of four beggars, each wearing a different sign; one saying that his owner is deaf, another one was blind, third stupid and the fourth poor. They invited him to share a meal together and when they heard he was from Sherwood, they started to talk they would never go there because of them being afraid of Robin Hood.
They were actually carrying a lot of money in a town near buy and they were just disguised to look poor. After a while, they started to suspect of Robin being a spy, so they attacked them but he conquered them all, also taking all of their money with him.
In the search for another adventure he met a rich man, who first acted very rude because he considered Robin to be poor, but after seeing his money he decided to travel with him. He warned Robin to keep his money hidden inside his shoes, where Robin Hood couldn’t find it, so Robin introduced himself and robbed him as well.
Richard Partington came to Sherwood as a queen’s messenger, asking Robin to come at the tournament in London. Robin took Little John, Will Scarlett, and Allan a Dale with him, and they told the queen all about their adventures. At the tournament day, queen told the king she’ll be bringing the best archers in the whole country who can beat all of his guard members, who were considered as the best. King accepted her challenge but got really mad when Robin and his friends won, asking for a rematch, and then losing again.
Although king promised to the queen he will give a 40-day-long freedom for Robin and his men,disappointed by his loss at the tournament and motivated by the bishop, he sent his men to arrest Robin. Queen sent Richard Partington to warn them so they managed to escape. A search for Robin and his company continued for a long time, until Robin returned to the queen, seeking for her merciful protection and assistance.
King Richard was traveling the country and was expected at Nottingham as well. He tried to find out more about Robin Hood from the sheriff, but he described him as a common thief. The others were talking a lot about Robin, so the evening passed in laughter and joy. The king decided to disguise himself and surprise Robin who robbed him, unaware of his true identity. Robin spoke very fondly about the king so he asked him to join his royal service, and the Robin with his crew accepted the opportunity.
Epilog describes the lifestyle of the company after resigning the runaway life. Little John returned to Nottingham after a couple of years spent at the royal castle and Will Scarlett returned home as well. Robin as a king’s favorite got a title of the Dutch of Huntington and became king’s warrior, followed by Allan a Dale and his wife wherever he went.
After returning to Sherwood he decides to stay with the rest of his company, but the descendant of king Richard, king John sent his army to the wood trying to make Robin change his opinion. King’s men soon got defeated by Robin’s company, killing the sheriff as well.
Robin got ill with fever, so he went to his cousin searching for help and care. She was scared because he heard he became an outlaw again, so she was only pretending as she is helping, but actually left Robin bleed to death.
Characters: Robin Hood, Little John, David of Doncaster, Will Stutely, Arthur the Leatherman, Will Gamwell, Allan a Dale, friar Tuck, Sir Richard, Bishop, Richard Partington
Robin Hood – the main hero who inspired the title of the novel as well is actually a leader of a group of outlaws who are fighting injustice, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. He arrives the Sherwood forest as a young man, after he accidentally murders a man, becoming an outlaw and a runaway. He gathers people similar to him in the forest, young men agile for fighting who became outlaws as well because of numerous reasons, so they started fighting the injustice together. He wins a tournament organized as a trap for getting him caught, but he tricked sheriff by wearing a mask and even got a business proposal from him, which he refuses. Also, he tricked sheriff over again for a couple of times, risking a powerful revenge. At the end he was forgiven for all of his sins and crimes and enters the king service, experiencing luxurious royal life as well. After some time he decides to return to his old lifestyle in the forest, losing his life because of his cousin’s neglected him.
Sheriff – The main negative character in the novel, eager on catching the Robin Hood from the beginning, but he gets deceived every single time. The man who Robin murdered was his cousin, and that was yet the additional motif for his revenge. He declares a warrant to arrest Robin, but no one wants to betray him. That was a good enough reason for the sheriff to send his men in a search for Robin Hood, who always manages to escape. Robin mocks and humiliates the sheriff the whole time, and sheriff finally dies in the end.
Little John – Robin’s right hand and the only character who, besides him, stands out on every adventure. His real name is John Little but the group calls him Little John and he joined them after fighting Robin at the bridge. He immediately becomes Robin’s right hand, loyal assistant, and friend. Winning at one tournament he got a job at the sheriff, who he served for months, becoming lazy and gaining weight. After some time he begins missing his old lifestyle so he returns to the forest, serves the king together with the rest of the company and remains by Robin’s side until the very end.
Will Scarlett – Robin Hood’s nephew who searches his help after killing a man. Robin hides him in the forest, but at first, he wanted to attack him, misunderstanding him for being a rich man. His real name is Will Gamwell but company renamed him as Will Scarlett, inspired by the color of his clothes as he would remain safer by using another name.
Allan a Dale – traveling singer who was forbidden to be with his love, but company helps him reunite with her by stopping her wedding ceremony.
Howard Pyle Biography
Howard Pyle was an American author, illustrator, and teacher, who should be given a lot of credit for numerous illustrations for various tales, fairy tales, and adventurous novels.
He was born on March the 3rd, 1853, at Wilmington, Delaware. He studied art in Philadelphia for three years, and then, by moving to New York at 1876, began his work as an illustrator for the magazine.
At 1880, he returns to Wilmington. His illustrations were classical, as seen in the book about the Robin Hood.
After educating himself on becoming an illustrator, he established a Brandywine School of Art, who was attended by famous artists as N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish.
Soon, there hasn’t been a book published without his illustrations, but at the same time, he was writing and illustrating his own work as well.
He married Anne Poole and become a father of seven children. He died in Florence, Italy, November 9th, 1911.