At the young age of fifteen, there was a boy living in Sherwood forest who could handle a bow and arrow better than any grown man in the village of Nottingham.
This boy, named Robin Hood, had one wish, and that was to become a member of the king's Foresters. The Foresters were a group of men that policed the forest on behalf of the king. Robin felt that this was a noble job. At least, that's what he thought until he approached the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin was certain that he'd be hired on the spot. After all, no one could use a bow and arrow as well as he could.
The sheriff just laughed at Robin. When Robin protested, the sheriff tried to arrest him. If it hadn't been for the friends that Robin Hood had made in Sherwood Forest, he would certainly have been taken prisoner. It was with these friends that Robin Hood formed a band of men who lived together in the forest. They became known as the Merry Men. The sheriff learned that Robin and his Merry Men would rob rich civilians who passed through the forest. But what made the sheriff really angry was that Robin would give the money to the poor.
The sheriff hatched a plan to catch Robin Hood.
"Men," called Robin to his friends,
"I've just heard that the sheriff is holding an archery contest. And I intend to win!"
"But Robin," cried Little John, the largest man in the group, "everyone knows you're the greatest archer this side of the sky. Surely this must be some sort of trap!"
"Ah, Little John," said Robin with a smile, "wise you are. I suspect the very same thing. Therefore we shall attend the contest in disguise."
That night they set about getting their costumes in order. Robin decided he would dress as a one-eyed beggar. He fashioned an eye patch and dressed in rags. He even dyed his hair and beard a lighter color to be sure he wouldn't be recognized.
Robin and his Merry Men arrived in Nottingham's town square to find it packed. The square was also swarming with the
As he expected, Robin sailed through the first several rounds of the competition. He won every match. Soon he was in the final competition against an accomplished archer called Hugh o' the Moors.
Hugh was very good. The match came down to one final shot. Hugh o' the Moors released a perfect arrow that hit the exact center of the target. The crowd reacted with a loud cheer.
It would take a miracle to beat that shot.
The one-eyed beggar stood poised and ready. The crowd looked on nervously as they saw a small grin creep across the archer's face. He released his arrow and began to bow almost before the arrow reached its target. The crowd gasped as they tried to comprehend what they had just witnessed. The beggar's shot was so perfect and true, it actually split Hugh o' the Moor's arrow in half. The beggar had won the competition. The silent crowd suddenly stood and exploded into cheers!
The Sheriff of Nottingham, having given up on finding Robin Hood, approached the beggar and his circle of friends at once. He awarded the beggar his prize.
"My friend," said the sheriff, "that was as good an exhibition of an archer's skill as anyone is likely to ever see. Not even that filthy outlaw Robin Hood could have beaten that. I insist that you join me for a celebration feast at my home."
Robin tried to hide his laughter. "It would be my pleasure, Sheriff," he said. "May I impose to invite my friends as well? It wouldn't be a celebration without them."
"Of course," said the sheriff. "In fact, I insist."
To find out what happened next, go to the next page.