Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Robin Hood.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (with the original illustrations) by [Pyle, Howard

Long before The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire, the 1883 novel by the American illustrator and writer Howard Pyle was published, the character Robin Hood was found in English folklore ballads dating as early as 1370; however it is from Howard Pyle that our modern experience with the hero outlaw is derived.  Consisting of a series of episodes in the story of the English outlaw Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, Pyle compiled traditional material into a coherent narrative in a colorful, invented “old English” idiom that preserves some flavor of the ballads, and adapts it for children. The novel is notable for taking the subject of Robin Hood, which had been increasingly popular through the 19th century, in a new direction that influenced later writers, artists, and filmmakers through the next century.

The plot of Pyles novel follows Robin Hood as he becomes an outlaw after a conflict with foresters, through his many adventures and run ins with the law. Each chapter tells a different tale of Robin as he recruits Merry Men, resists the authorities, and aids his fellow man. The popular stories of Little John defeating Robin in a fight with staffs, of Robin’s besting at the hands of Friar Tuck, and of his collusion with Allan-a-Dale all appear. In the end, Robin and his men are pardoned by King Richard the Lionheart and his band are incorporated into the king’s retinue, much to the dismay of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Who is Robin Hood?
Robin Hood, the protagonist of the story is an excellent archer and swordsman. Though his background is not clearly set, all legends establish that he is a famous English outlaw, and is known to rob from the rich and unworthy and use the money to help the poor and needy. He is loved by all people except for a select few enemies.  Among them is the Sheriff of Nottingham, and due to the nature of his job, is a natural enemy to an outlaw.
Robin Hood is often depicted as wearing Lincoln Green and wears either a feathered hat or a hood. He is most often with his trusty weapon, his longbow. Robin lives in either Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire or Barnsdale in Yorkshire. Robin is also a master of disguise and uses it a lot to either save his friends or to irk his enemies.
Robin Hood is not a typical hero. He is an outlaw which is more often the antagonist in a story.  Robin doesn’t always win the fights that he picks, and oftentimes gets overpowered by his opponent. Robin Hood is not without heroic traits. Like many heroes, Robin has  band of men that are loyal to him, known as the Merry Men. This group of men include Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller’s Son, Alan a Dale, and of course, Maid Marian, his true love. Although Robin is a criminal, he is known to steal from the rich and give to the poor, which many find a heroic act. He is also very loyal in his actions. Like many heroes, Robin has a specialty, and that is archery. He is a famous champion archer, which is shown in this story, and his skills often come in handy in his many legends.

The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938

Robin Hood is not an epic hero. His birth and origin is highly debated and come from various different sources with vastly different stories, and he doesn’t receive supernatural aid in any of his endeavors. Also, he does not venture into the underworld or suffer from an unhealable wound; he dies from a mix of illness and betrayal from his cousin, the Prioress of Kirklees. Nor is Robin extraordinarily strong; he is just an ordinary man that tries to do good deeds and hide from the law. One trait he does share with the epic hero, though, is that he sometimes embarks on journeys and quests, but they are oftentimes very small compared to other epic heroes.
So that is Robin Hood.  Do you want to be his friend and join his Merry Men. I think you do as he is legend.
If you are interested in some of the original ballads about Robin Hood that were the inspiration for Howard Pyles novels, just google Robin Hood Ballads to find some in their entirety.
If you are interested in reading more about Robin Hood, I recommend the website Robin Hood — Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood


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