Robin Hood (36 of 79)

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Robin Hood
by J. Walker Mcspadden
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Chapter XI: How Robin Hood Fought Guy of Gisborne (Cont'd)

"A blessing on your heart!" shouted Capul-Hide; "never saw I such shooting as that! Belike you are better than Robin Hood himself. But you have not yet told me your name."

"Nay, by my faith," quoth Robin, "I must keep it secret till you have told me your own."

"I do not disdain to tell it," said the other. "I dwell by dale and down, and to take bold Robin am I sworn. This would I tell him to his face, were he not so great a craven. When I am called by my right name, I am Guy of Gisborne."

This he said with a great show of pride, and he strutted back and forth, forgetful that he had just been beaten at archery.

Robin eyed him quietly. "Methinks I have heard of you elsewhere. Do you not bring men to the gallows for a living?"

"Aye, but only outlaws such as Robin Hood."

"But pray what harm has Robin Hood done you?"

"He is a highway robber," said Sir Guy, evading the question.

"Has he ever taken from the rich that he did not give again to the poor? Does he not protect the women and children and side with weak and helpless? Is not his greatest crime the shooting of a few King's deer?"

"Have done with your sophistry," said Sir Guy impatiently. "I am more than ever of opinion that you are one of Robin's men yourself."

"I have told you I am not," quoth Robin briefly. "But if I am to help you catch him, what is your plan?"

"Do you see this silver bugle?" said the other. "A long blast upon it will summon the Sheriff and all his men, when once I have Robin within my grasp. And if you show him to me, I'll give you the half of my forty pounds reward."

"I would not help hang a man for ten times forty pounds," said the outlaw. "Yet will I point out Robin to you for the reward I find at my sword's point. I myself am Robin Hood of Sherwood and Barnesdale."

"Then have at you!" cried the other springing swiftly into action. His sword leaped forth from beneath the horse's hide with the speed born of long practice, and before Robin had come to guard, the other had smitten at him full and foul. Robin eluded the lunge and drew his own weapon.

"A scurvy trick!" quoth he grimly, "to strike at a man unprepared."

Then neither spoke more, but fell sternly to work—lunge and thrust and ward and parry—for two full hours the weapons smote together sullenly, and neither Robin Hood nor Sir Guy would yield an inch. I promise you that if you could have looked forth on the fight from behind the trunk of some friendly tree, you would have seen deadly sport such as few men beheld in Sherwood Forest. For the fighters glared sullenly at each other, the fires of hatred burning in their eyes. One was fighting for his life; the other for a reward and the King's favor.




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