Robin Hood and the Pedlars [Child 137]
DESCRIPTION: Robin Hood, Will Scarlett, and Little John try to stop three pedlars, succeeding only by sending an arrow into one of their packs. They fight. Robin appears to be slain. His antagonist administers a supposed healing balsam, making him puke on reviving.
EARLIEST DATE: 1847 (Gutch)
KEYWORDS: Robinhood fight injury medicine trick humorous
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Child 137, "Robin Hood and the Pedlars" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Stephen Knight and Thomas Ohlgren, editors, _Robin Hood and Other Oudlaw Tales_, TEAMS (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages), Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2000, pp. 626-632, "Robin Hood and the Pedlars" (1 textt, which is a modernized version of Child's transcription)
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.
This is perhaps the ultimate example -- it has gone from Robin the excessively pugnacious to Robin the drug-addled. The date cannot be absolutely proved; the manuscript containing it has materials copied as early as the seventeenth century and as late as the nineteenth. This alleged ballad (really a farce) is in the nineteenth century portion, And it certainly feels nineteenth century -- frankly, in reading this, I feel like I'm reading Edward Lear. Not the content, of course, but the style. - RBW
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