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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire is an 1883 novel by the American illustrator and writer Howard Pyle. Consisting of a series of episodes in the story of the English outlaw Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, the novel compiles traditional material into a coherent narrative in a colorful, invented "old English" idiom that preserves some flavor of the ballads, and adapts it for children. The novel is notable for taking the subject of Robin Hood, which had been increasingly popular through the 19th century, in a new direction that influenced later writers, artists, and filmmakers through the next century.[1]Pyle had been submitting illustrated poems and fairy tales to New York publications since 1876, and had met with success. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood was the first novel he attempted. He took his material from Middle Age ballads and wove them into a cohesive story, altering them for coherence and the tastes of his child audience. For example, he included "Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar" in the narrative order to reintroduce Friar Tuck. He needed a cooperative priest for the wedding of outlaw Allan a Dale (Pyle's spelling of the original Alan-a-Dale) to his sweetheart Ellen. In the original "A Gest of Robyn Hode", the life is saved of an anonymous wrestler who had won a bout but was likely to be murdered because he was a stranger. Pyle adapted it and gave the wrestler the identity of David of Doncaster, one of Robin's band in the story "Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow." In his novelistic treatment of the tales, Pyle thus developed several characters who had been mentioned in only one ballad, such as David of Doncaster or Arthur a Bland.

Pyle's book continued the 19th-century trend of portraying Robin Hood as a heroic outlaw who robs the rich to feed the poor; this portrayal contrasts with the Robin Hood of the ballads, where the protagonist is an out-and-out crook, whose crimes are motivated by personal gain rather than politics or a desire to help others.[1] For instance, he modified the ballad "Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham", changing it from Robin killing fourteen foresters for not honoring a bet to Robin defending himself against a band of armed robbers. Pyle has Robin kill only one man, who shoots at him first. Tales are changed in which Robin steals all that an ambushed traveler carried, such as "Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford", so that the victim keeps a third and another third is dedicated to the poor.

Pyle did not have much concern for historical accuracy, but he renamed the queen-consort in the story "Robin Hood and Queen Katherine" as Eleanor (of Aquitaine). This made her compatible historically with King Richard the Lion-Hearted, with whom Robin eventually makes peace.

The novel was first published by Scribner's in 1883, and met with immediate success,[1] ushering in a new era of Robin Hood stories. It helped solidify the image of a heroic Robin Hood, which had begun in earlier works such as Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe. In Pyle's wake, Robin Hood has become a staunch philanthropist protecting innocents against increasingly aggressive villains.[1] Along with the publication of the Child Ballads by Francis James Child, which included most of the surviving Robin Hood ballads, Pyle's novel helped increase the popularity of the Robin Hood legend in the United States. The Merry Adventures also had an effect on subsequent children's literature. It helped move the Robin Hood legend out of the realm of penny dreadfuls and into the realm of respected children's books.[2] After Pyle, Robin Hood became an increasingly popular subject for children's books: Louis Rhead's Bold Robin Hood and His Outlaw Band (1912) and Paul Creswick's Robin Hood (1917), illustrated by Pyle's pupil N. C.

400 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1883

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About the author

Howard Pyle

1,299 books272 followers
Howard Pyle was an American illustrator and author, primarily of books for young people.

During 1894 he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University), and after 1900 he founded his own school of art and illustration named the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. The term Brandywine School was later applied to the illustration artists and Wyeth family artists of the Brandywine region by Pitz. Some of his more famous students were N. C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Elenore Abbott, Ethel Franklin Betts, Anna Whelan Betts, Harvey Dunn, Clyde O. DeLand, Philip R. Goodwin, Violet Oakley, Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle, Olive Rush, Allen Tupper True, and Jessie Willcox Smith.

His 1883 classic publication The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood remains in print, and his other books, frequently with medieval European settings, include a four-volume set on King Arthur. He is also well known for his illustrations of pirates, and is credited with creating the now stereotypical modern image of pirate dress. He published an original novel, Otto of the Silver Hand, in 1888. He also illustrated historical and adventure stories for periodicals such as Harper's Weekly and St. Nicholas Magazine. His novel Men of Iron was made into a movie in 1954, The Black Shield of Falworth.

Pyle travelled to Florence, Italy to study mural painting during 1910, and died there in 1911 from a kidney infection (Bright's Disease).

His sister Katharine Pyle was also a writer and illustrator. Their mother was the children's author and translator M.C. Pyle.

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24,426 (38%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,345 reviews
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,031 reviews587 followers
June 9, 2020
These stories were great fun to read. I had never read any of these, even as a child. They did tend to have the same basic premise of outwitting someone and eventually winning their allegiance each story, but they were still very endearing. Overall, it probably was a 3.5 but I rounded up.
Profile Image for A.E. Chandler.
Author 3 books169 followers
May 11, 2021
This is my favourite novel. A copy sits on my desk with my dictionary. Having first read it in grade five, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve re-read it – including once in the rain in Sherwood Forest, sitting under an umbrella. The three chapters spanning Little John’s fight with Arthur a Bland, and Robin Hood’s fight with Will Scarlet, culminating in all four of them getting bested by Midge the miller’s son is my favourite part, though the chapter on the Chase is also incredibly fun. The stories have a great sense of humour. The language and generally cheery outlook do a great job of transporting you into the world Pyle portrays. Robin has human foibles, but is also shown to full advantage as a role model with an innate sense of justice.

This novel brought Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest to life for me, more than any other retelling of the legend. It inspired me to write my first novel, and propelled me more than any other book toward the study of medieval England, which years later became my MA. This book changed my life.
Profile Image for Rob.
280 reviews20 followers
May 5, 2009
Marry, I didst learn to prate e'en as those stout fellows did in Merry Old England. 'Tis true, there are other accounts of Bold Robin's merry doings, but this one, I wot, pleases me most of them all. By the bright eyes of the lass I love best, I'll say you, do you give yon 'Bloody Quaker' the chance, thou wilt likewise fall, willy-nilly, under his spell, both with the pen, and the brush, for he is a fair hand with both, withal.

And to whoever did lightly reave away my copy (I've since obtained another) ten years gone, a murrain upon thee!

Profile Image for Karen Rós.
344 reviews15 followers
August 6, 2011
Seldomly I've been so touched by a book as I was by Robin Hood. From the very beginning it was a lighthearted and happy tale of an outlaw and his adventures, told in a careless, joyful and entertaining language - depicting Robin Hood not as a criminal, but a lovely young man with a sharp wit, sense of humour and excellent skills with the bow. He is the king of his band of men yet they are equal, he shows mercy for the needing and sympathy for the weak. You wish him all good in the world and it is with a somewhat heavy heart that you wish him a good journey with the King of England when he "grows up", and you shed tears when he returns to Sherwood after years of service to the King, even more so when his band of men all return to him. Even so, all things good must end and you feel like you've lost your dearest cousin, the one that was your favourite because he was charming, witty and wellmannered, as well as he had a pure heart...farewell Robin Hood, may you rest in peace.


I do realise that this story is nothing but fiction based upon folklore and that the real Robin Hood might not have been worth the glory...nevertheless he is an interesting character and I believe that Pyle has managed to create a real hero with his interpretation of him. I love Robin Hood more now than I did as child, watching countless movies and cartoons about him, most of these inspired by this tale. But nothing beats the "real thing", so to say, and I feel that my childhood hero has gained a stronger place in my heart.
Profile Image for Cindy Rollins.
Author 22 books2,022 followers
May 7, 2019
Howard Pyle is my of my favorite read-aloud authors. This version of Robin Hood reads like a lyric ode to Sherwood Forest and the merry band of outlaws. It is the perfect book to read aloud to young poet-warrior hopefuls. It is also the last book I will read aloud to the young man I have been teaching for almost four years, so the bittersweet ending of the book strikes a remembrance of past readings with my own children.

Let us end here:

"Thus they rode slowly onward, talking about these old, familiar things; old and yet new, for they found more in them than they had ever thought of before. Thus at last they came to the open glade, and the broad, wide-spreading greenwood tree which was their home for so many years. Neither of the two spoke when they stood beneath that tree. Robin looked all about him at the well-known things, so like what they used to be and yet so different; for, where once was the bustle of many busy fellows was now the quietness of solitude; and, as he looked, the woodlands, the greensward, and the sky all blurred together in his sight through salt tears, for such a great yearning came upon him as he looked on these things (as well known to him as the fingers of his right hand) that he could not keep back the water from his eyes."
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
4,933 reviews687 followers
October 7, 2022
I liked this book until the end (very ghoulish); I wont ruin it for those of you who have not read it...but after you read it I think you will understand what I mean. Lots of merriment here - high spirits and high adventure - till the very end. Another iconic character that has continued to evolve to this day (Green Arrow and Hawkeye).
Profile Image for Trish.
1,947 reviews3,404 followers
May 28, 2019
I liked this for what it was: little adventures full of mischief and jokes against the authorities.

Everyone has heard the name Robin Hood and knows about his friends Little John and Friar Tuck or Will Scarlet (who wasn't actually called that once upon a time). They have fallen out with the law for relatively innocent reasons but the law, back then, was even more of a mess than it is now. So they all moved to Sherwood Forest where they are living and hiding and giving the occasional "feast" for wealthy people after which the rich are less rich and taught a lesson. *lol*
Where does the wealth go? Well, I bet good old Robin keeps a bit of it to finance his next prank but most of it is spent on giving to the poor (often in form of free food).
Which explains why these guys are so popular. When the king demands more and more, when the taxes are raised again and again and when the Sheriff is a prick, you definitely look to guys who aren't afraid of them and their thugs.

Especially as a children's story, this must have been an instant success. I'm not sure why the tales have become legendary, exactly, but it was quite fun despite it always having been clear how the individual adventure would end.

This didn't exactly rock my world, but it was fun enough and I'm glad I finally read this classic as well.
Profile Image for Steve Hemmeke.
594 reviews40 followers
July 11, 2012
A rollicking good time. This long version by traditional storyteller Howard Pyle hums with the merriment of Robin's band of brothers. Their adventures involve bringing justice to folks in need, at the expense of the apathetic or oppressive rich and powerful passing near Sherwood forest.

It struck me that Robin Hood presents some lessons from the 1200s on masculinity, which we might not learn in our culture. The typical reference to Robin's merry men today tends to be an off color homosexual reference, which only shows how little we understand true masculinity.
1. Good men are quick to laugh, not because they are fools but because they pursue a life of joy.
2. True men can laugh at themselves. They are not so caught up in their ego, pride or machismo that they don't see when they have BEEN the joke.
3. Real men aren't afraid of others of superior ability, but invite them to join them in common cause. This strengthens them in a community that depends on others. It is amazing how many times Robin loses a fight, then asks the winner to join him.
4. Men trust other friends with their lives. We need friends to share our fight, walk our road, and tell our stories with us.
Be a real man like Robin Hood.

I'm not sure it was intended originally, but the premise presents a powerful parallel with David, outlawed from Saul in 1 Samuel. Both David and Robin gather those indebted or out of favor or outlawed to the king. Both are really in the right and will be vindicated in the future. Both work for the good of the kingdom (and themselves) before that time comes, by plundering God's enemies. Both are pursued by the oppressive authorities (Saul, the Sheriff), but are vindicated by higher authorities (God, King Richard).
354 reviews122 followers
January 21, 2016
This was a wonderful reread from my childhood. A wonderful romp through the Sherwood forest with Robin and his merry men. A tale of good and evil stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
I recommend to all.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
PS It makes it a lot more fun if you read it aloud to a child.
Profile Image for Dave Skaff.
13 reviews2 followers
February 26, 2011
Pretty much the first thing every new Kindle owner does is download a shitload of free classics. And hey why not? They're much lauded - and free! And among that set for me was this book.

I loved the Robin Hood tales as a child, read some other more kid-friendly versions of it time and time again as a boy and so I thought I'd tackle the original* here.

And? It was awesome. If you liked it then you'll like it now. Friar Tuck, Little John, Will Scarlet - the whole band is there, frolicking and robbing and carrying on. What I didn't recall, however, is that this book is *funny*. Robin has a wicked sense of humor and the dialogue is witty! A bit cartoonish even. So I dug that this trip around.

*I asterisked original here because, there really is no original. After reading this I was prompted to read all of the Wikipedia entries about Robin Hood and the evolution of his tales. This version by Pyle is widely regarded as the beginning of the modern and well known tale, but it was neither the beginning nor the end. Check the Wikipedia entry if you're curious for more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood

Happy hunting.
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 27 books525 followers
April 17, 2018
My review is a bit torn between two. Robin Hood in this retelling was nothing but a rogue and restless fellow. There was no King Richard for whom he was fighting behind the sheriff’s back. Instead, he was just at odds with the sheriff and the sheriff could not overcome him or his men. So, there really wasn’t much noble in Robin’s character here. That, I really couldn’t admire.

On the flip side, the humor in this was hysterical. I had several laughing aloud moments. I can appreciate good wit, and the merry men surely had it. Of course, as with any wit, it did go too far at times.

There was a heavy theme of drinking throughout the pages. The only form of Christianity would be the priests who cares more for their purse than their parishes (which was to be a revealing of hypocrisy). There was next to no romance (sorry, no maid Marion in this book, besides her name being mentioned once). It’s possible that the songs they sung could have had some questionable content, but I’ll be honest and confess that I skipped over the poetry, so I don’t know what they contain.

A good way to think of this book is as a collection of short tales of Robin Hood, as the flow wasn’t exactly novel-type.

The adventures were a mix of fun and some with which I could not approve (they just lacked the integrity and nobility that I have seen in Robin in other retellings). I could revisit some of the stories and cannot say I wish I hadn’t read it.
Profile Image for Bianca Scharff.
Author 1 book12 followers
July 23, 2022
Author Howard Pyle has done it again. Everything about this book was wonderful. The way it was written in old english really made me feel the setting and time period more than I could have in any other way. I loved the merriment of Robin Hood's band. Always so giving and kind even while robbing a haughty friar. They offered the best feasts and never took more than they needed. He has written these stories in a way that again makes you want to be a better more understanding person of those around you with happiness in your heart and a will to fight for those who you care for. The ending brought me tears, I never expected the book to end with Robin Hood's death. He only wanted to finish living out his days in Sherwood with the few men who were still willing to live there. It seems so evil that his kindnesses were forgotten so easily by his cousin and my only gladness is that little John stayed by his side until the end and found the arrow he last shot to lay Robin's body. I'm in literal tears.
Profile Image for Kirsten.
16 reviews
November 9, 2010
This was I genuinely life altering book for me. I read it for a 12th grade book report and I absolutely loved it. This one book sparked a revolution in my reading habits. No longer was I a participant of the young adult genre, devouring books like Harry Potter or The Series of Unfortunate Events(and that's nit to say I don't like them anymore or that I think they're stupid, I still love them), I now belonged to a more scholarly class of literature. A whole new world was opened up for me.

In the beginning of this story, through a course of events, young Robin eventually takes someones life. The story later foes on to narrate that Robin had made a vow never to take another life in vain. I think that this was the cause of Robin's life long sacrifice. I think that he felt guilty for taking something that wasn't his to take and he vowed to make amends by righting any wrong that, to any degree, replicated the injustice he caused. The book doesn't outrightly state any of this, it's just a theory of my own. That, I think, gives Robin some depth, and thats why I love this book. Any book that holds some wider philosophical, ethical or spiritual significance is a great book by me!
Profile Image for Malum.
2,226 reviews127 followers
July 23, 2018
I have been wanting to read some Robin Hood stories ever since I read Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer because Robin Hood is mentioned so often in it. I don't think Sawyer was reading Pyle (I believe that Twain's book was published first), but this is certainly something that I could see young Tom Sawyer really enjoying.

There are honorable knaves, bloody duels, merry men pulling one over on the man, and even quite a few references to King Arthur and his knights. Also, the gang is all here, along with all of their "origin stories" (I read too many comics...): Will Scarlet, Little John, Friar Tuck, Alan a Dale, King Richard, and the evil Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff of Nottingham. The only thing missing (shockingly enough) was Maid Marian (she is mentioned briefly at the beginning but doesn't actually make an appearance in the book).

So, if you are looking for a fun, light classic, you really can't go wrong with The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.
Profile Image for Katy.
1,904 reviews153 followers
September 2, 2016
Read this one over time using the Serial Reader App for iPad.

Each installment was another adventure for the "merry men." The first few were the joining of several characters to the band of men. And such a sad ending that I had no idea had happened.
Profile Image for Luca.
79 reviews56 followers
November 6, 2018
This wasn't really my cup of tea. Struggled for a good few months to finish this book, because it is just one of these books that you want to have read, but eventually succeeded. Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Ahmed.
748 reviews502 followers
May 20, 2016
تجميع لأشهر قصص ومغامرات روبن هود
بدءاً من تحوله لمجرم مرورا بإختفائه في غابة شيروود
وتكوين عصابته المكونة من ويل ستوتلي وجون الصغير وآلان آديل وويل سكاريت و ماتش الطحان
ومغامراته مع المأمور وحصوله على السهم الذهبي
وطريقه للوصول لحاشية الملك ريتشارد قلب الأسد
ثم موته في محبسه عام 1247

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Natasa.
1,194 reviews
March 2, 2019
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood is a magnificent book of small stories. One will discover this book gives an ocean of emotions and entertainment. Some of the adventures you will laugh at because of the hilarious mischievous side to Robin Hood and his band of merry men. If you want amusement and laughter this is an excellent book. Adventurous trips are also plentiful in this book. Some may want blood and guts adventure but this book provides more of innocent adventures that include wit, charm, strategy, and deception.
Profile Image for E.F. Buckles.
Author 1 book9 followers
February 9, 2023
2 stars because there were some enjoyable parts, but I ultimately felt pretty "meh" about it.

Note: I listened to this on audio book.

I was somewhat disappointed in this book. I had hoped it would be a lot more fun that it was, and it was fun in some places, but in others it was, IMO, boring/unneeded, and there were things about the writing style that drove me absolutely bonkers.

Things started out pretty well. I thought the way the narrator talks to the reader in the prologue and asks you to take his hand so he can lead you on this adventure was rather charming.

But by the epilogue when the narrator releases your hand to go your separate ways, I was pretty much ready to move on.

I’m sad that I felt that way because this book is a classic and Robin Hood was in interesting character, but WOW it was way longer than it needed to be. Like I said above, there were some fun parts. I enjoyed the episodic events that I would say are the most familiar to the general public: Robin Hood and Little John’s first meeting, the various archery tournaments, and King Richard pardoning Robin Hood.

I also enjoyed the few chapters that involved Queen Elanor (sp?). While I wasn’t previously familiar with her involvement in the story it was just really nice to have a female character who actually did something. (Speaking of female characters, I don’t think I heard a single mention of Maid Marion in the entire story and I was disappointed by that.)

On the other side of things, however, many of the episodic events in this story were repetitive to the point of becoming predictable and boring: You know how Robin Hood and Little John actually fought each other when they first met? Well, it turns out that happened with quite a few of the other merry men, too. It seemed like nearly everyone they met in Sherwood forest either fought Robin or Little John with staffs, or competed with one or the other in archery, or a battle of wits. I just got tired of it quickly, and it even reached a point where my brain was totally tuning out while I listened, but when I tuned back in, I didn’t feel like I had missed anything because the same kind of things kept happening.

And then there were the songs. I don’t mind songs or poetry being featured in stories in general. Sometimes I really enjoy them, like in Tolkien’s writing, and he certainly had plenty of songd in his books. But what I need from songs in stories is for them to either build the characters, build the world, or move the story along. In general, the songs sung by the characters in this book did none of these things and they were also way too long. For example, there was one point where some of the characters just wanted to compare their singing voices and the songs they knew, and the reader has to sit through three different characters singing three different songs. Not little samples of songs, mind you, they sang the ENTIRE SONGS and the songs were just merry little tunes about silly things that had nothing to do with actual story.

Then there was a point where Robin and his men spied on Friar Tuck when he was sitting under a tree drinking and talking to himself like he was two different people having a conversation, and then those “two people” decided to sing a song where one “person” sang one part the other “person” sang the replying parts. It was funny at first and did build his character a little, but then he Just. Kept. Singing. It truly reached a point where, when someone started singing, I automatically hit fast forward because I didn’t care anymore.

And the writing. I don't mind pretty prose, but this was flowery to an extreme, not to mention that there were so many repetitive descriptors. Nearly every character was described as “merry” at some point in the book, and if I ever hear someone described as “lusty” or “saucy” again, I will scream and throw things.

By the time I reached the epilogue I was so ready to finish the story, but it wasn’t even over yet. The epilogue was actually twenty minutes long on audio and detailed the end of Robin Hood’s life, which I wasn’t expecting. It was pretty sad what happened to him too, because after escaping his enemies so many times

What a way to go. :/ I did, however, find myself liking Robin as a person even more than before after this, because even as he died he was compassionate towards those who did him wrong. Though I would have preferred to finish things on a positive note rather than learning how Robin Hood died, his attitude of forgiveness even in the face of death meant a lot to me and it earned him a lot of respect in my eyes.

All of that said, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. I didn’t hate it and didn’t find anything outright objectionable in it, but I just don't have particularly fuzzy feelings toward it. Seeing how I got so tired of it at one point that I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish it, I'm going with 2 stars since it was just "okay."

Content advisory for those who want to know: I believe that, technically, this book is considered a children’s classic. There was no sexual content in this book that I can recall. There was lots of fighting, some killing, and some brief mentions of blood, but the descriptions of this violence were very flowery (like the rest of the book) and not graphic or intense. There is also quite a bit of drinking of ale and other alcoholic beverages that goes on throughout and people rarely seem to suffer ill-effects from it.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
November 21, 2009
Read this for my Robin Hood module, as with Ivanhoe. This is the second book which I just couldn't read as anything but an English Literature student; my lit student hat remained firmly jammed upon my head. It pains me to read other people's reviews and thoughts on this, given that they're so wildly inaccurate about it. E.g. someone thinking it was "the" book of Robin Hood (and not knowing about the ballad tradition, or the forerunners to this such as Ivanhoe). Or someone thinking it's written in Old English (see also: my review of Ivanhoe). Seriously, no, guys. It's not even Middle English. It's faux-Middle English in parts, but it isn't even that old a text, for God's sake. Even Shakespeare (late 1500s/early 1600s) was writing in Modern English. This was written in 1883 or so, right? About as Anglo-Saxon as what I'm writing right now!

And then people thinking this is "the" book, the original. Sheesh.

Obviously, a lot of the stories come straight from the surviving ballads -- perhaps all; I haven't read every single Robin Hood ballad. They're expanded upon by Howard Pyle, in that he writes them out as a coherent narrative and with all the same characters recurring, and obviously it's not in verse. It's a pretty sanitised version, given that Robin rarely kills as an outlaw: once when he becomes an outlaw (as opposed to the fifteen he kills in the original ballad, Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham) and once when he kills Guy of Gisborne (and unlike in the ballad, he doesn't cut Guy's face off). It wasn't obvious that it was an adaptation for children, from the language -- it's not exactly difficult, but nor is it easy or exciting. Still, in the time period, perhaps that's not surprising. (I should have some basis of comparison, given my Introduction to Children's Literature course, but I can't bring anything to mind right now.) The sanitisation gave it away rather, in any case.

I did get kind of bored reading it, honestly. Each tale is more or less the same -- they're practically all "Robin meets his match" stories, and at the end the stout yeoman will join the band. The writing isn't intensely exciting, as I mentioned. I did enjoy it, and possibly would have enjoyed it more in small doses. And, of course, it's very episodic so it can easily be read in small chunks.

It's, ah, one of the more 'homosocial' Robin Hood stories I've read, honestly. There are two or three mentions of Marian, at most, and she doesn't come into it as a character at all -- I half-expected a chapter that came from Robin Hood and Maid Marian. And Will Scarlet is so very, very camp. And Little John and Robin are so very very close. It kind of read like a slashfic of Robin Hood, sometimes.

I will confess, the epilogue made me want to cry. Oh, Robin. Incidentally, apparently tales of Robin's death are quite rare, and this is one of the few.

(Note: If anyone wants links to the ballads, or indeed, this book, online, I know where the book can be downloaded legally as an ebook, and where the ballads are collected online.)
Profile Image for Holly.
1,804 reviews125 followers
January 8, 2010
At my high school, I have to read 500 pages worth of classic books. I'm not the kind of girl to fawn over Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre. I wanted an interesting classic, so I picked up Robin Hood (because who doesn't like him?) I was especially drawn to him thanks to a recent viewing of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Thank you, Mel Brooks.

Anyway. Back to the book. I was concerned about the whole "steals from the rich and give to the needy" at first because the whole premise seemed to be this: Robin meets a strong stranger. They fight until Robin is overcome. Robin toots his bugle to get his merry men to come. Robin asks the stranger to become part of his band. Stranger accepts. They get drunk. The End.

The characters were actually pretty diverse and entertaining. I think the constant meeting of new characters helped the story because we would learn a person's story every few pages and then see how Robin and Little John either tried to help them or asked them to join their band.

And there was some action, too! I guess that's kind of obvious. The villains constantly getting outsmarted is always fun to see. You can't help but want to laugh at them and say "Didn't you learn the last time?"

If anyone else has to read classics for school, this is a good one. They do talk a little funny and it's a tad hard to understand at times, but you get used to the rhythm quickly.
Profile Image for Darlene Nichols.
89 reviews9 followers
April 22, 2020
Read aloud to the kids for school. This was a challenge to read out loud because of the old language, but I’m so glad we persevered. It was like struggling up a steep mountain and then looking back on the journey, seeing how far we’ve come and enjoying the amazing view from the top. We grew to love merry Robin and his yeomen, all clad in Lincoln green, and we were sad to say goodbye to their many adventures.
217 reviews2 followers
January 29, 2017
There were three morals to this story: 1) If you change clothes or put on a hood, no one will recognize you; 2) If you fight a guy for half an hour and don't beat him, invite him to join your merry men; and 3) Never trust bloodletting to your cousin.
Profile Image for Marta.
997 reviews101 followers
September 7, 2020
The adventures of the lusty and stout men of Robin Hood are very merry, indeed. As Howard Pyle tells it, it is all joy and love living in the woods as outlaws. Little John, Friar Tuck and other merry band members get their origin story - usually involving locked in an unwinnable combat with Robin, who gets out if the bind by recruiting them. The Nottingham sheriff and the fat priests get their comeuppance, as we know; but there was no trace of lady Marianne in this story... so where does she come from?

Fun and entertaining listen on audio, merry, jolly, chivalrous, and completely unrealistic. Just what I was going for.
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,579 reviews104 followers
July 2, 2019
This was a very interesting and fun read. My first exposure to Robin Hood was the Disney classic, but it's the Kevin Costner film Prince of Thieves I remember best. And who can forget Men in Tights or the extremely annoying version of Robin and his Merry Men in Shrek? The only Robin related books I've ever read, however, are The Wode books, starting with Greenwode, by J. Tullos Hennig which I cannot recommend highly enough, and they're the main reason I wanted to hunt down a pre-Hollywood version of the myth to see what would be different.

Turns out: a lot! Robin's not a noble's son as he's usually portrayed now, but a yeoman (or commoner), he never joined the Crusades, Maid Marian is barely mentioned, and he was clearly in love with Little John. :D The myth had already changed and grown since its earliest tellings by the time Pyle wrote this collection of adventure stories, but he kept to a lot of the basics of the myth as known at the time. Little John gets a lot of page time and some of his own adventures, and Robin's constantly outwitting his enemies. The biggest surprise though was That is not how the legend's told ever anymore, LOL. I was not expecting that ending!

The audio's quality could have been better. The narrator, David Case, did a great job, nothing against him at all. But Tantor clearly bought this recording from another company, no doubt recorded originally for tape, and if they did anything to clean it up, I couldn't tell. I was able to ignore the background of white noise and the slightly echo-y sound of the narration (I grew up with vinyl and tapes, after all), but others might have issues with it.
Profile Image for Brian.
622 reviews
January 6, 2011
7/1/2000 - 7/10

After getting a taste of Robin Hood in Ivanhoe, I decided to find out more about him. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood takes its basis from the many old ballads about Robin Hood. As a result, it is a combination of mini-stories. Howard Pyle does a commendable job in joining all these stories into a cohesive novel. It was fun following the adventures of Robin, Little John, Friar Tuck, and the rest of the merry band!

For more info on Robin Hood check out:
Robin Hood - lots of general info, and was there a real Robin Hood?
Robin Hood - general info.
Robin Hood - general info and good info on his death.
Adventures of Robin Hood - 1938 movie with Errol Flynn.

Profile Image for Alberto Martín de Hijas.
304 reviews40 followers
May 20, 2023
Recopilación de las aventuras del personaje desde su conversión en proscrito hasta su muerte. Luchas, festines y canciones por parte de Robin y sus compañeros además de las persecuciones del sheriff de Nottingham. Esta probablemente sea lo más parecido a una versión "clásica" del personaje (Salvo recopilaciones de las leyendas medievales) Aunque se separa bastante de las adaptaciones cinematográficas (Bueno, más correcto sería decir que estas se separan de aquella, que el libro las precede) Muy entretenido.
Profile Image for Krista Claudine Baetiong.
259 reviews32 followers
December 28, 2015
Howard Pyle gave an interesting glimpse into the escapades of the lighthearted Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, and with so many adaptations about this infamous folklore—both in print and film/TV—I must say that this version was entertaining enough. If there is only one thing that challenged me throughout the read, it is the archaic wording.

On another note, it took me forever to finish this book because I was watching the BBC TV adaptation of Robin Hood (starring Jonas Armstrong) the same time I was reading this.
Profile Image for Ada Seven.
167 reviews6 followers
November 15, 2021
Bu kitabı türkçe öğretmenimiz okulda okunması için vermişti. Zaten çok duyulan bir kitaptı ama ben Robin Hood’un “gerçek” hikayesini hiç okumamıştım. Ba-yıl-dım! Kitap, orman koruyucusu Gilbert’ın eşi Margaret’in kardeşi Ritson’un Sherwood Ormanını ziyaret etmesiyle başlıyor. Yanında da bir bebek getiriyor. Bu bebek, Ritson’un arkadaşı olan Ferguson’un oğluydu fakat annesi bebek hemen doğduktan sonra ölmüştü. Babası da askerlik görevine çıkacağı için ona bakacak biri gerekiyordu. Bu yüzden bu bebeği Margaret ve Gilbert’ın oğlu gibi yetiştirmeye başladılar, aslında olmasa bile. Bebeğe Robin adını verdiler. Robin büyüdü. Bu sıralarda Robin bir sürü zor durumda olan insana rastlıyordu. Herkesin en büyük sorunu o bölgenin valisiydi. Robin yardım etmek için elinden geleni yapıyor, bu insanları evine davet ediyordu. Sonra aklına harika bir fikir gelir. Böylece hem Şen Gençler grubu hem de yeni bir kahraman doğmuştu: Zenginden alıp fakire veren, Robin Hood 💚
Herkese tavsiye ederim.
Sevgiler: ADA SEVEN
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