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What makes a legend... [page 2]

Robin HoodRobin Hood - King of the Sherwood Forest
This 13th century outlaw, Robin Hood lived during the rule of King Richard the Lion heart, a time of crusades in troubled England. Robin was driven to a life of crime by the harsh rules of aristocracy of those days, when he poached a deer in Sherwood Forest, the hunting ground reserved for only kings and royalty. Banished to the forest, Robin took to stealing for a living. The Sheriff of Nottingham, with the blessings of Richard's brother John, who had usurped the throne in the absence of King Richard, collected taxes from the poor peasants. Those who wouldn't pay were sent to prison. In Robin Hood, the peasants found a friend of the oppressed. Robin would waylay the rich, rob them off their money and distribute it to those whom it belonged - the poor peasants.

Soon, Robin had collected a band of like-minded, brave men who ruled the forest and fought against the tyranny of the Sheriff. Robin Hood and his Merry Men as they soon came to be known, became the champions of the poor and the only hope for the people of Nottingham. His popularity peaked even though he lived in constant danger of getting caught. But the peasants helped him, aiding his escape many a time and the Sheriff just could not capture Robin or his men. Though he was a hunted outlaw with a price on his head, Robin had faith in the rule of King Richard and upon his return from his crusades, the King pardoned Robin and his men on hearing of his noble deeds.

Robin Hood was a hero and till this day he is considered the symbol of good against evil. He was also a skilful archer and swordsman. And yet, in all those days in Sherwood Forest, not once did he lead an uprising against the Monarchy.

The legend of Robin Hood lives on till today. Ballads have been sung in praise of this "Man of the people". His heroics and daring exploits against tyranny are still talked about. Nottingham, in the West Midlands of England, is today a treasure house of historical memorabilia. A statue of Robin Hood has been installed in Nottingham Castle, where medieval history is brought back to life. Museums, pubs, exhibitions, artifacts, and souvenirs - all extol the tales of Robin Hood.

Whether Robin Hood actually existed is debated till today. Some say, he was the creation of imagination, the creation of the numerous ballads from which the myth of Robin Hood came to be. Be that as it may, Robin Hood will always go down as a legend of our times.

Next page... Jesse James

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