And a place among the Foresters is what I have long desired.
For, as he went his way through Sherwood, whistling a blithe tune, he came suddenly upon a group of Foresters, making merry beneath the spreading branches of an oak-tree.
Never a word said Robin Hood, but he looked at the foresters with a grim face; then, turning on his heel, strode away from them down the forest glade.
Some had shot deer in hungry wintertime, when they could get no other food, and had been seen in the act by the foresters, but had escaped, thus saving their ears; some had been turned out of their inheritance, that their farms might be added to the King's lands in Sherwood Forest; some had been despoiled by a great baron or a rich abbot or a powerful esquire-- all, for one cause or another, had come to Sherwood to escape wrong and oppression.
He is here to-night for herbergage, as are the others except the foresters. His neighbor is a tooth-drawer.
"It would take a clever man to live upon thy labor, Hugh," remarked one of the foresters, "seeing that the half of thy time is spent in swilling mead at the `Pied Merlin.'"
The whole party was soon reunited, and another consultation was held between the scout and his new comrades, during which, they, whose fates depended on the faith and ingenuity of these unknown foresters
, had a little leisure to observe their situation more minutely.
The forester climbed up, brought the child down, and thought to himself: 'You will take him home with you, and bring him up with your Lina.' He took it home, therefore, and the two children grew up together.
Now the forester had an old cook, who one evening took two pails and began to fetch water, and did not go once only, but many times, out to the spring.
``I am,'' said the forester
, ``a nameless man; but I am the friend of my country, and of my country's friends With this account of me you must for the present remain satisfied, the more especially since you yourself desire to continue unknown.
"Marry, NO man SAW the killing, but this Unknown saw this hardy wretch near to the spot where the stag lay, and came with right loyal zeal and betrayed him to the forester
When we started again, some of the boldest spirits on board, made bold to say to the obvious occasion of this improvement in our prospects, 'Much obliged to you, sir;' whereunto the brown forester