Today’s myth was recommended to me a LOOOONG time ago
the last time I did a myth about sherwood forest’s bastard-in-residence
so if you have recommended me something and I haven’t done it
probably i am not ignoring you
probably it is buried deep in the REQUESTS folder of my email
and i will get to it some day
(also it helps if you send me a link to a primary source along with your request
because i am a wee bit too busy to do exhaustive research
every time someone is like “hey do more Lithuanian myths”)
Okay so the story I am going to tell you today is this story.
Yeah take a nice long look at that link
does that make sense to you?
that’s not fucking english my friends
that is FUCKED english
and to make matters worse the editor keeps writing snarky shit in the footnotes
basically being like “this other historian added words to make this catastrophe more readable
but I took them all out because i enjoy causing pain.”
seriously why are people so concerned with keeping shit like this accurate?
like, let’s say you bought a really juicy steak in nineteen-fifty-five
that steak is not going to be nearly as delicious today as it was fifty-eight years ago
if you hang onto that exact same steak
no one is going to applaud you on your historical accuracy
you are going to need to buy a new steak my friends
you cannot just keep using the same steak forever
this is a thing you learn when you start to live on your own
anyway let me break this linguistic traffic-jam down for you:
so Robin Hood and Little John are walking through the forest
(oodalally oodalally golly what a day)
and Robin Hood is bitching about this dream he had
where he got his ass beat by some yeomen
which are more or less like medieval gangsters
(but only because basically everyone in medieval times was gangsters)
and Robin Hood is so pissed off about getting whupped in his dreams
that he is trying to get Little John to help him find the guys from his dream
so he can go whup their asses irl
and little john
being a sensible young giant forest gangster
is like “dude, that dream that you had?
THAT WAS A DREAM
YOU DREAMED IT
are we going to need to discuss what dreams are again Robin
because this shit is tiresome”
and robin is like fine let me put it another way
wanna wander around and beat the shit out of dudes?
and Little John is like YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
so pretty soon they see a dude leaning against a tree
this dude is also a yeoman
everyone is a yeoman
you can tell by all the weapons they are always carrying
and little John is like “oh shit a dude
here robin, wait here while i find out if he is a good dude or a bad dude”
and Robin Hood is like yo fuck that
i don’t wait in the forest while my homies check out weird dudes
man if I was not worried about damaging my bow
I would use it to smack the green off and then back onto you
and little john is like fine
if you’re gonna be like that
I’m gonna walk to Barnsdale
then he just straight leaves.
So I guess barnsdale isn’t that far off
Little John gets there
but when he gets there he sees two of his bros dead in the dirt
and the sherriff’s dudes are running through trying to kill even more bros
and little john is like I better shoot some dudes
to give the bros time to escape
but when he goes to shoot one of the dudes his bow fucking BREAKS IN HALF
(arrow still totally goes through a dude’s face though)
and then he gets arrested
and tied to a tree
so let’s leave Little John’s part of the story for a while
cause he’s tied to a tree and that’s boring
and Robin Hood is doing some EXCITING SHIT
specifically he is checking out this yeoman who is in his woods
he goes up to this guy like “hey guy who are you?”
and the guy is like HOW DID YOU KNOW MY NAME?
I mean uh … I am but a humble woodsman
looking for robin hood
so I can…
be best friends with Robin Hood!
and Robin Hood is like “That sounds lame
let’s shoot arrows at stuff instead”
so they set up some targets and start firing competitively
and Robin Hood is like “Oh sorry guy
you seem to have dropped something
I believe it is your ass
here let me just hand that back to you.”
except he says it with his archery and not his words
like a REAL MAN
so after a couple of hours of having his own ass presented to him in various ways
this mysterious yeoman is like DUDE
YOU ARE A PRETTY GREAT ARROW GUY
POSSIBLY EVEN BETTER THAN ROBIN HOOD
okay wait hold on dude
you are in a forest
actively LOOKING FOR ROBIN HOOD
when suddenly a dude appears
DRESSED ENTIRELY IN GREEN
this dude flatly REFUSES TO TELL YOU HIS NAME
and then BESTS YOU AT ARCHERY
what are you looking for
a fucking nametag or something?
anyway the guy asks Robin Hood to tell his name
and Robin is like You show me yours and I’ll show you mine
and the guy is like Very well
my name is
GUY OF GISBORNE
and Robin Hood is like okay that explains some things
I’m robin hood
and Guy is like GREAT!
COMMENCE THE STABBING!
so they stab pretty good for a while
until Robin finally stabs a little better
then he does the only sensible thing
which is to strip naked
dress Guy in his clothes
and then steal guy’s clothes and go find the sheriff
because apparently robin hood has been talking to the narrator of this ballad
and he knows all about Little John’s fuck-up
so Robin goes to the Sheriff and he’s like hey man
i totally killed Robin Hood like you told me to
you can tell I’m the same person you hired because I am wearing the same clothes
and the Sheriff is like YES WELL DONE
HOW MUCH DO I OWE YOU
and Robin Hood is like oh don’t worry about it dude
all I want is the privelege of killing Little John too
and the Sheriff is like SWEET, FREE MURDERS
so Robin Hood goes over to little john
and all the sheriff’s men are crowding around
so he’s like uhh
I’m not just a murder guy, you know
I’m also a priest
this guy is going to confess to me before I murder him, so stand back
and everybody stands back because christianity has some weird rules
and then robin frees little john and little john shoots the sheriff in the heart.
Okay so the moral of the story
is that dreams really are bullshit
what did that have to do with the rest of the story
I’m sorry, the steack is perfectly understandable.
I wold not express myself in yonder way alle of the morrow, but that’s still decypherable.
As always, thanks for the tale.
I double fucking dare you to express yourself in yonder way alle of the morrow.
I love that you added the oodalallee’s because my brain had already started singing just by reading that line.
I think every Robin Hood myth gets crazier and crazier as they go on. Fantabulous job, as per usual.
This was some swete shite.
A MASSIVE thank you for doing this one! I can’t tell you how stupidly excited I am that you went with my request. 😀 Between this, the Marian, and the Little John ballads, you’ve hit most of my favorites!
The thing that always got me about this ballad was that (if I’ve read the fucked English right), between the stabbing and the stripping naked, Robin apparently beheads Guy and sticks the head on the end of his bow before cutting up the face until it’s unrecognizable… and then talks to the body, saying it shouldn’t be angry with him because it’s getting Robin’s nicer clothes. That’s serial killer levels of crazy shit, there.
Who the hell is Child, and why does this other guy have a vendetta against him?
I’m a bit of a language person myself (Old Icelandic is where it’s at), and I have to say that language historians love to put vaguely disparaging comments about each other in their work. “Yeah, sure, go consult Cleasby-Vigfússon if you’re so fucking excited about dictionaries!” (paraphrasing, obviously)
Haha, YES, Little John~
I love how (in the version I read) Robin’s just all ‘y’know what, after beating the shit out me, I really have to say that your name kinda sucks, here, LEMME CHANGE IT RIGHT QUICK’ and John just…kinda rolls with it?
That’s basically how it went, Athena.
If I know this, so should you. You kinda came out of my face, and all.
Dude. For fucked up murder shit, where are all the CHILD BALLADS?
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