Robin Hood (46 of 79)

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Robin Hood
by J. Walker Mcspadden
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Chapter XIII: How the Outlaws Shot in King Harry's Tourney (Cont'd)

Then the Queen beckoned the outlaws to approach, and they did so and knelt at her feet.

"Right well have ye served me," she said, "and sorry am I that the King's anger is aroused thereby. But fear ye not. His word and grace hold true. As to these prizes ye have gained, I add others of mine own—the wagers I have won from His Majesty the King and from the lord Bishop of Hereford. Buy with some of these moneys the best swords ye can find in London, for all your band, and call them the swords of the Queen. And swear with them to protect all the poor and the helpless and the women—kind who come your way."

"We swear," said the five yeomen solemnly.

Then the Queen gave each of them her hand to kiss, and arose and departed with all her ladies. And after they were gone, the King's archers came crowding around Robin and his men, eager to get a glimpse of the fellows about whom they had heard so much. And back of them came a great crowd of the spectators pushing and jostling in their efforts to come nearer.

"Verily!" laughed Little John, "they must take us for a Merry Andrew show!"

Now the judges came up, and announced each man his prize, according to the King's command. To Robin was give the purse containing twoscore golden pounds; to Little John the twoscore silver pennies; and to Allan-a-Dale the fine inlaid bugle, much to his delight, for he was skilled at blowing sweet tunes upon the horn hardly less than handling the harp strings. But when the Rhenish wine and English beer and harts of Dallom Lea were spoken of, Robin said:

"Nay, what need we of wine or beer, so far from the greenwood? And 'twould be like carrying coals to Newcastle, to drive those harts to Sherwood! Now Gilbert and Tepus and their men have shot passing well. Wherefore, the meat and drink must go to them, an they will accept it of us."

"Right gladly," replied Gilbert grasping his hand. "Ye are good men all, and we will toast you every one, in memory of the greatest day at archery that England has ever seen, or ever will see!"

Thus said all the King's archers, and the hand of good-fellowship was given amid much shouting and clapping on the shoulder-blades.

And so ended King Harry's tourney, whose story has been handed down from sire to son, even unto the present day.

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