A moment of silence ensued, and then was heard the rustling of leaves and crackling of twigs like the coming of many men; and forth from the glade burst a score or two of stalwart yeomen, all clad in Lincoln green, like Robin, with good Will Stutely and the widow's three sons at their head.
Why, marry," replied Robin, "this fellow would not let me pass the footbridge, and when I tickled him in the ribs, he must needs answer by a pat on the head which landed me overboard.
Why," said Robin, "my men and even the Sheriff of Nottingham know me as Robin Hood, the outlaw.
cried Robin, "I am glad I fell in with you; though, "sooth to say, I did all the falling
But you have not yet told us your name," said Robin, bethinking himself.
Give him a bow, and find a full sheath of arrows for Little John," said Robin joyfully.
And here they built a ruddy fire and sat down to the meat and ale, Robin Hood in the center with Will Stutely on the one hand and Little John on the other.
Then Robin grew angry, for no stripling likes to be taunted with his green years.
I'll hold the best of you twenty marks," quoth bold Robin, "that I hit the clout at threescore rods, by the good help of Our Lady fair.
Then Robin took his good yew bow in his hand, and placing the tip at his instep, he strung it right deftly; then he nocked a broad clothyard arrow and, raising the bow, drew the gray goose feather to his ear; the next moment the bowstring rang and the arrow sped down the glade as a sparrowhawk skims in a northern wind.
cried Robin, "how likest thou that shot, good fellow?
Never a word said Robin Hood, but he looked at the foresters with a grim face; then, turning on his heel, strode away from them down the forest glade.
Now, well would it have been for him who had first spoken had he left Robin Hood alone; but his anger was hot, both because the youth had gotten the better of him and because of the deep draughts of ale that he had been quaffing.
It was well for Robin Hood that that same forester's head was spinning with ale, or else he would never have taken another step.
Then, before the others could gather their wits about them, Robin Hood was gone into the depths of the greenwood.