Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weds. With Words - Robin Hood

Wednesday With Words

I am so glad that we are reading The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.  I was concerned that my 7 yo wouldn't be able to follow the Howard Pyle version but he gets frustrated when I stop to check and make sure he is following it.  He gets it and even laughs at the jokes and will anticipate the conflict of the story.  He truly is an engaged listener - now if he would only try to read more on his own.  I do have the Roger Lancelyn Green on hand in case we needed to scale back.  After reading a little from this version, I am really glad that he can follow the Pyle version because it is just much richer.  Although, you always have to consider your audience.  One of my son's best friends is using Sonlight so he was telling me the tales as he read them, for himself, from Tales of Robin Hood.   We also own this version from Barefoot Books.  I am not exactly sure how we have so many versions - Half Price Books.  I have never read this book before (as with most Ambleside selections) so I am really enjoying reading it with my son.

Now to the quotes.  We just read The Tanner of Blythe and this is a great example of how literature can make a point that will stick with kids that direct teaching just can't do as well.  I followed the advice of many and tried not to spiritualize or over emphasize the point but I am glad that I have this story to refer back to if it seems appropriate in the future.  Here is the crux of the issue:

After "turning neither to the right hand, nor the left" on the mission that Robin Hood had sent him on

Here Little John suddenly ceased whistling, and stopped in the middle of the path.  First he looked up and then he looked down, and then, tilting his cap over one eye, he slowly scratched the back part of his head.  For thus it was: at the sight of these two roads, two voices began to alarum within him, that one crying, "There lies the road to the Blue Boar Inn, a can of brown October, and a merry night with sweet companions such as thou mayst find there," the other, "There lies the way to Ancaster and the duty thou art sent upon."  Now the first of these two voices was far the louder, for Little John had grown passing fond of good living through abiding at the Sherriff's house . . ." 
Later, when Robin Hood hears about Little John's choice this is his response.
Now news had been brought to Robin Hood how that Little John, instead of doing his bidding, had passed by duty for pleasure, and so had stopped overnight with merry company at the Blue Boar Inn, instead of going straight to Ancaster.  So, being vexed to his heart about this, he set forth at dawn of day to seek Little John at the Blue Boar, or at least meet the yeoman on the way, and ease his heart of what he thought of the matter.  As thus he strode along in anger, putting together the words he would use to chide Little John, he heard, of a sudden, loud and angry voices. . . 

Robin Hood is concerned that maybe Little John is fighting with the King's Rangers.

Thus spoke Robin Hood to himself, all his anger passing away like a breath from the windowpane, at the though that perhaps his trusty right hand mind was in some danger of his life.   
We learn that Little John is not in danger and has just gotten himself into another battle of pride. Robin Hood enjoys watching the fight and in the end feels that is enough of a punishment for Little John's poor choice.  I enjoy the way that Pyle shows the relationship and wit of the men.  I am not going to belabor the point of this story for you either - I think you get it!

I was hoping that this story was included in the Roger Green version of the book; but it isn't, so I can't compare the language for you.  Every version has its benefits and its issues.  I am so glad that Ambleside encourages you to stretch your children's horizons.  Maybe when we come around to the Middle Ages I'll encourage my son to read another version for himself.

See what others are reading this week over at Ordo Amoris.


  1. We are also reading Pyle's version. We just started though, so haven't gotten to the episode you mention. The edition by E. Charles Vivian is really, really wonderful too. I'm actually not sure if I don't like it better than Pyle but, like I said, we haven't gotten very far yet and I do want to give it a fair chance, so the jury's still out for now...

    1. Please don't tempt me to buy another one! :) Thanks for the recommendation - maybe we will try that version when my other ones are old enough to hear it aloud.

  2. We also read a couple of versions over the years. I think Pyle is lovely.

  3. We are reading through this for the second time. My girls spend all day outside in the trees. They have a sign posted on one of the trees that announces your heading into Sherwood Forest. They've made bows and arrows and have asked for green material to make costumes. Don't you just love books that make their imagination come alive?