20. The Fight At The Ford

Thoroughly surprised, Robin had no choice but to obey.

The portly friar clambered onto Robin’s back and he staggered across the stream. Then as they almost reached the shore, Robin swung his hands up and grabbed the friar by the back of the neck, sending him flying over his head. Before Friar Tuck could pull himself together, Robin said, “Now Jack Priest, the game has turned my way.”

So once again Friar Tuck waded through the water with the outlaw on his back. But the fingers of the hermit were busy unfastening the cord at the neck of his cloak. Suddenly he pulled the string of his brown habit and the cloak together with the outlaw slid off his stout shoulders.

By the time Robin had disentangled himself, the friar had picked up his sword and they were soon testing each others skills.

But suddenly a force of mounted men appeared riding upstream. It was the Sheriff of Nottingham and his men.

“Take him alive!” Called De Lacy brandishing his sword.
“You shall not interfere,” shouted Friar Tuck, “Until I have finished with him!”
“Throw this prating priest in the stream,” said the Sheriff curtly to his forester.
“Come lad,” called the friar to Robin, “Back to back.”

De Lacy waited on his horse for an opening, as the foresters swarmed around Robin and the priest. Then the Sheriff rode in close and with the flat of his sword, struck Friar Tuck to the ground.
Robin quickly felled one opponent but De Lacy managed to knock the outlaws weapon from his hand. Robin dashed to a tree where he came face to face with a forester, sword in hand. He reached up, grabbed an overhanging branch and swung towards the forester and kicked him flat.
The Sheriff pulled his horse around and charged at the outlaw, still hanging from the tree. At the right moment, Robin let himself go and knocked the Sheriff clean off the horse’s back. Robin seized the reins and turned the animal towards the far fork of the river.
“Bring him down!” Shouted the fuming Sheriff.

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