“Now Robin, who was called Fitzooth,
Is dwelling in the wood;
His coat is changed to Lincoln Green,
His name to Robin Hood.”
He stopped outside the Inn and the local people gathered around the merry minstrel and listened with interest. With a resounding chord, he started the second verse.
“Oh, Robin Hood doth hunt the deer,
That in the woodland prance;
But oft-times shoots the Sheriff’s men
By sorrowful mischance……..”
“He had good cause,” muttered somebody in the crowd, “’tis known who killed his father.”
Alan A Dale nodded, but before he could start his third verse, he was drowned out by the arrival of a villainous looking forester.
“Hearken! Hearken!” He called. “Having been informed of the felonies, robberies and murders committed by the man known as Robin Hood, our Liege Lord, Prince John hereby pronounces upon Robin Hood, sentence of outlawry!”
The forester turned away and began to hammer the proclamation onto a wooden post.
“You must catch Robin Hood before you can hang him, said a townsman.
The forester growled but made no reply, and as the crowd surged round the new proclamation Alan A Dale whirled round and came back towards the crowd, his fingers busy with a tune that had, all at once, become sprightly and mocking. The minstrel sang softly:
“He robs the rich to help the poor,
A most unusual practice,
And now that he has been outlawed
He needn’t pay his taxes….”
The crowd seethed with laughter and the minstrel picked out a few steps of an intricate dance. Then leaving the townspeople in a high good humour, he went marching jauntily off singing the song that was as much part of him as the shape of his nose or the colour of his hair:
“I’ll sing a song, a rollicky song
As I roll along my way;
With a hey derry down and a derry die do
And a riddle de diddle de day…..”