Robin Hood and the Tanner [Child 126]

DESCRIPTION: Robin Hood meets a tanner in the woods; they fight. After two hours Robin blows his horn. Little John comes running; Robin says the other has tanned his (Robin's) hide. Little John offers to continue the battle; Robin says no, praising the tanner's skill.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1657 (Stationer's Register)
KEYWORDS: Robinhood fight
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) US(SE)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Child 126, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (1 text)
Bronson 126, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (3 versions+ 2 in addenda)
BronsonSinging 126, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (3 versions: #1, #2, #5)
Davis-Ballads 31, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (1 text, 1 tune entitled "Robin Hood and Arthur O'Bland") {Bronson's #3}
Wells, pp. 35-36, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
Leach, pp. 372-376, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (1 text)
Sharp-100E 4, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 94, "Robin Hood and Arthur O'Bland" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3}
BBI, RZN12, "In Nottingham there lived a jolly Tanner"
DT 126, RHOODTAN*
ADDITIONAL: Stephen Knight, editor (with a manuscript description by Hilton Kelliher), _Robin Hood: The Forresters Manuscript_ (British Library Additional MS 71158), D. S. Brewer, 1998, pp. 118-122, "Robin Hood and the Tanner" (1 text, very close to the 1670 garland)

Roud #332
NOTES: For background on the Robin Hood legend, see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117].
Fully half the Robin Hood ballads in the Child collection (numbers (121 -- the earliest and most basic example of the type), 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 130, 131, 132, (133), (134), (135), (136), (137), (150)) share all or part of the theme of a stranger meeting and defeating Robin, and being invited to join his band. Most of these are late, but it makes one wonder if Robin ever won a battle.
Bronson, in searching for the tunes of the Child Ballads, notes that many are the same tune, and that tune is most likely to be "Arthur A Bland." Which, if it is anything, is this. So this may be one of the "core" Robin Hood ballads. Except -- all this is based on a few tag lines, which are often unreliable.
The Opies (Opie-Oxford2, #12) speculate that the Arthur a Bland of this song may be the Arthur O'Bower of their nursery rhyme #12:
Arthur O'Bower has broken his band
And he comes roaring up the land;
The King of Scots with all his power
Cannot stop Arthur of the Bower.
This seems to be based solely on similarity of names, however. I would not be surprised if Arthur O'Bower has some deeper significance -- but I can't see any reason to link him to Robin Hood. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: C126

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