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The Charmed Fawn.
let me in," and saw the door opened, and immediately closed again. The huntsman then went back and told the king.
No sooner had they done this than they closed the door of the bath-room, where they made such a fire, that they felt certain the beautiful young queen would be instantly stifled.
The old crone then put a cap on her daughter's head, and laid her in the queen's bed, and tried to make her look as like her majesty as possible. Towards evening the king, who had been hunting, came home, and immediately went to see his beloved wife. But the old crone would not let him draw the curtain and look at the queen.
The sister was very much alarmed when the fawn came back wounded; but she bound some simples on the wound, and said, "Go, lie down, dear fawn, that you may get cured.” The wound was so slight that it had healed by the next morning; and when the fawn again heard the huntsmen in the forest he would again go after them. Towards sunset the king said to the huntsman who had followed the fawn the day before, and show me the hut where he dwells.” On reaching the door, he knocked, and said, “Dear sister, let me come in." The door flew open, and the king walked in, and beheld the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen. But the poor girl was very much frightened when she saw the king with his golden crown, instead of her beloved fawn. Then the king looked at her in a kindly manner, and said, “Will you accompany me to my palace, and become my queen ?” “Yes," replied the maiden, “provided I may take my fawn with me.”
The king then took the beautiful girl to his palace, where their marriage was celebrated with great pomp; and the fawn was fondled and pampered, and had the run of the palace-gardens. When the wicked step-mother heard how happy they were, she thought of nothing else but how she should bring them into trouble again. Her own daughter, too who was one-eyed and as ugly as sin, kept saying that it was she who ought to have been a queen. Accordingly, as soon as she heard that the queen had become the mother of a fine little boy, she went to the palace, and having assumed the shape of one of the queen's maids, she went into her bedchamber, and said, “The bath is now ready, if you please, your majesty.” The witch's daughter, who was likewise at hand, then helped to lift the sick queen into the bath.
The king could now restrain himself no longer, and jumped up, crying, “You can be no other than my dear wife.” “Yes," replied she, “I am"; and at the same moment she was restored to life. She then related to the king the crime the witch and her daughter had committed. They were at once delivered up to justice, and the daughter was condemned to be torn to pieces by wild beasts, and the wicked old hag to be burnt for a witch. And no sooner had the flames consumed her, than the fawn recovered his human shape, and the brother and sister were happy ever after to the end of their days.
The famous Robin Hood, who lived in the reigns of Henry the Second and Richard Cæur de Lion, was born in the town of Locksley, in Nottinghamshire, about the year 1160. He was a handsome youth, and the best archer in the country. But his uncle having been persuaded by the monks of Fountains Abbey to leave all his property to them, he had been sent adrift into the world. He took refuge in Sherwood Forest, where he met with several other youths, who soon formed themselves into a band under his leadership. Robin Hood and his men adopted a uniform of Lincoln green, with a scarlet cap ; and each man was armed with a dagger and a basket-hilted sword, and a bow in his hand, and a quiver slung on his back.
One day, as Robin Hood sat by the wayside trimming his bow and arrows, there rode by him a butcher with a basket of meat. After bidding him good morrow, Robin asked what he would take for the horse and the basket ? The butcher an. swered he would not care to sell them for less than four silver marks. “Do but throw your greasy frock into the bargain,” said Robin, “and here's the money." The bargain having been concluded, Robin instantly put on the smock-frock over his clothes, and galloped away to Nottingham.
On reaching the town, Robin Hood went into the market, and uncovering his basket, began to sell its contents about five times cheaper than all the other butchers. The other butchers could not at first understand why everybody flocked to purchase his goods in preference to theirs; but when they found that he sold his meat so very cheap, they thought that they had better try and learn something more about him, or else he would ruin their business. So when the market was over one of them invited Robin Hood to dine with their company.
The Sheriff of Nottingham presided at the head of the table, while at the other end sat the innkeeper. When the dishes were removed, Robin called for more wine, telling them all to drink as much as they could carry, and he would pay the reckoning.
The Sheriff then turned to Robin Hood, and asked him whether he had any horned beasts to
sell ; for he was a miser, and hoped to drive a good bargain with him. Robin Hood replied he had some two or three hundred ; whereupon the Sheriff said that he would like to ride over and look at them that same day. So Robin Hood flung down a handful of silver on the table by way of farewell to his astonished companions, and set out for Sherwood Forest with the Sheriff, who had mounted his palfrey and provided himself with a bag of gold for his purchase. After riding for some time they reached the Forest, when a herd of deer crossed their path. “How do you like my horned beasts, Master Sheriff?" inquired Robin. “To tell you the truth,” replied the Sheriff, who remembered that the Forest was infested with Robin Hood and his band, “I only half like your company, and wish myself away from hence.” Then Robin Hood put his bugle to his mouth and blew three blasts, when about a hundred men immediately surrounded them. They took the bag of gold from the luckless Sheriff, and, spreading a cloak on the grass, they counted out three hundred pounds; after which, Robin asked him if he would like some venison for dinner. But the Sheriff told him to let him go, or he would rue the day; so the outlaw desired his best compliments to his good dame, and wished him a pleasant journey.
Another time, as Robin Hood was roaming through the Forest, he saw a handsome young man, named Allan-a-Dale, in a very elegant suit, who was singing blithely as he went. On the following morning he was surprised to see the same young man coming along sighing deeply at every step, and saying, “Alack and well-a-day!” Robin Hood having sent one of his men to fetch him, inquired why he was so gladsome yesterday and so sorry to-day. The young man pulled out his purse, and showed him a ring, saying, "I bought this yesterday to marry a maiden I have courted these seven long years, and this morning she is gone to church to wed an old cripple whom she does not love at all ; but because the old knight is rich, her parents have insisted upon it, and she has been obliged to consent."
Having found out where the wedding was to
take place, and that the Bishop of Hereford, the bridegroom's brother, was to perform the ceremony, Robin Hood dressed himself as a harper, and bidding twenty-four of his men follow at a distance, he entered the church, and took his place near the altar. Presently the old knight made his appearance, hobbling along, and handing in a maiden as fair as the day, all tears and blushes. “This is not a fit match,” said Robin Hood aloud, “and I forbid the marriage.” And then, to the astonishment of the Bishop and of all present, he blew a blast on his horn, when the four-and-twenty archers came leaping into the churchyard, and entered the building, among whom was Allan-aDale. Then, turning to the bride, he said, “Now, pretty one, tell me freely whom you prefer for a husband-this gouty old knight or one of these bold young fellows ?” “Alas!” said the young maid, casting down her eyes, Allan-a-Dale has courted me for seven long years, and he is the man I would choose." “Then now, my good Lord Bishop,” said Robin, "prithee unite this loving pair before we leave the church.” But the Bishop having refused, Robin, without more ado, pulled off his gown, dressed Little John up in it, and gave him the book. Robin Hood then gave away the maiden, and the whole company had a venison dinner in Sherwood Forest.
Robin Hood had often heard tell of the prowess of a certain Friar Tuck, who was said to wield a quarter-staff and let fly an arrow better than any man in Christendom. So, one morning Robin set off for Fountain Dale, where he found the Friar rambling on the bank of the river Skell. The Friar was a burly man, at least six feet high, with a broad chest, and an arm fit for a blacksmith. The outlaw walked up to him, saying, “ Carry me over this water, thou brawny friar, or thou hast not an hour to live!" The Friar tucked up his gown, and carried him over without a word; but when Robin seemed to be going, he cried out,
“Stop, my fine fellow, and carry me over this water, or it shall breed you pain !” Robin did so, and then said, “ As you are double my weight, it is fair I should have two rides to your one ; so carry me back again.” The Friar again took Robin on his back; but on reaching the middle of the stream he pitched him into the water, saying, “Now, my fine fellow, let's see whether you'll sink or swim !” Robin swam to the bank, and said, “I see you are worthy to be my match;” and then, summoning his foresters by a blast of his bugle, he told the Friar he was Robin Hood, and asked him to join his band.
One morning six priests passed through Sherwood Forest on richly-caparisoned horses, and thinking a good prize was in the wind, the outlaws bid them halt, and Friar Tuck seized the bridle of the one whom he judged to be the Abbot. “We are going on a message from King Richard,” said the Abbot. Then Robin bade the Friar desist, saying, “God save the King, and confound all his foes !” “You are a noble fellow," quoth the Abbot; "and if you and your men will give up this lawless life and become my archers, you shall have the King's pardon.” He then opened his gown; and Robin Hood and his archers, guessing at once that Richard himself stood before them, bent their knees to their liege lord, crying, "Long live King Richard !”
So Robin Hood accompanied the King to London, followed by fifty of his most faithful adherents, and here he assumed the title of Earl of Huntingdon; but he soon grew tired of the confinement of the Court, and returned to the Forest, where he again became leader of a band. King Richard was so enraged on hearing this, that he sent two hundred soldiers to reduce the rebel, and a desperate fight took place on a plain in the Forest, when Robin Hood was wounded by an arrow, and removed to Kirkley's Nunnery, where he died.