There are many legends about the outlaw Robin Hood, who robbed from the rich to feed the poor. But this is the real story of what happened in Sherwood Forest. One day, Robin Hood and Little John were walking through the forest.
Robin and Little John saw the King's golden carriage passing through the clearing. "I thought King Richard was away," Little John said. "That impostor is his brother, Prince John," Robin Hood sneered.
Wicked Prince John and his aide, Sir Hiss, cackled over the gold they were stealing from all the townspeople. But Prince John didn't call it stealing. "Taxes," he chuckled. "Beautiful, lovely taxes."
There on the road ahead of them, Prince John saw two gypsy fortune-tellers. He did not know that the two gypsies were really Robin Hood and Little John in disguise.
Prince John stopped the coach, and invited the gypsy women inside the carriage to tell his fortune.
As Robin Hood told Prince John's fortune inside the royal coach, Little John quickly began taking back as much of the Prince's ill-gotten fortune as he could.
When Robin and Little John had taken all the gold they could carry, they ran off into the forest, leaving the bewildered Prince behind.
Prince John's taxes were so high that practically everyone in the town of Nottingham was left in a state of poverty. The Sheriff of Nottingham was mean. He was in charge of collecting the taxes, and those who couldn't pay were locked up!
"Well, looky there," the Sheriff said. "It's that old do-gooder Friar Tuck, probably out doing good again. I better see what he's up to."
Friar Tuck headed for the poor blacksmith and gave him a bag of coins. "For you, Otto-from Robin Hood," the Friar whispered. Neither of them knew that the Sheriff was listening at the door!
The Sheriff heard coins jingling inside the cast where Otto had hidden the money. "Let me give you a hand. Upsy-daisy!" the Sheriff chuckled, as he spilled the coins out of the cast and into his hand.
The Sheriff interrupted Skippy Bunny's birthday party, too. He snatched away Skippy's only birthday present-a small, gold coin-leaving Skippy with only the empty box!
As the Sheriff left, a blind beggar man came in. The Sheriff even stole the single penny that was in the beggar's tin cup! "Did I hear that today is someone's birthday?" the beggar asked.
Suddenly, the beggar removed his disguise. "Gee whiz!" Skippy shouted. "It's Robin Hood!" Robin Hood gave Skippy a bow and arrow and a hat. Now Skippy looked just like Robin Hood!
Skippy was showing off his birthday presents from Robin Hood. His arrow sailed over the castle wall and into the garden beyond.
Skippy carefully sneaked into the garden, where he met Maid Marian and her lady-in-waiting, Lady Kluck. Maid Marian was very kind, and invited all the children in.
"Mommy said you and Robin Hood are sweethearts," Baby Bunny said. "That was a long time ago," Maid Marian sighed. "But he did carve our initials on this tree."
Skippy's visit awakened Marian's memories of Robin Hood. "Oh, Klucky, what if he's forgotten all about me?"
Maid Marian need not have worried. Deep in Sherwood Forest, Robin was lazily daydreaming of his lady love.
Friar Tuck came along and told Robin and Little John that Prince John was holding an archery tournament the very next day. "Maid Marian is going to give a kiss to the winner," the Friar said. "A kiss to the winner?" Robin smiled. "Come on, Johnny! What are we waiting for?"
The next morning, fanfares trumpeted and drums rolled, signaling the beginning of the Tournament of the Golden Arrow. Everyone watched excitedly as the majestic procession marched to the castle.
Prince John knew that Robin Hood couldn't resist showing off his skill with a bow and arrow. "My trap is set!" the Prince cackled. "Robin Hood will come to the tournament."
"How will I know him?" Maid Marian asked Lady Kluck. Little did she know that Robin Hood and Little John, in disguise, were watching her. "Oh, don't worry, my dear," Lady Kluck said, "he'll let you know who he is."
"I am Sir Reginald, Duke of Chutney," Little John said with a flourish and a bow, as he approached Prince John's royal box in a regal disguise.
Maid Marian and Lady Kluck joined Prince John and "The Duke of Chutney" in the royal box. Robin Hood, disguised as a skinny-legged stork, joined the procession of archers who were competing for the day's prize.
As he passed Maid Marian, Robin Hood gave her a flower and let her know who he was-just as Lady Kluck had predicted.
Soon Robin Hood and the Sheriff were the two finalists in the tournament. The Sheriff cheated to try to win...
...but Robin Hood's excellent archery skills won him the prize!
Prince John knew that the skinny stork had to be Robin Hood in disguise. As the Prince drew his sword to dub the winner of the tournament-whoosh!-he cut away the costume to reveal Robin Hood!
Thinking quickly, Little John used a little sharp encouragement to convince Prince John to release Robin Hood.
With Prince John's guards in pursuit, Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and all their friends made a swift escape from the castle and headed back to Sherwood Forest.
That night, the glade in Sherwood Forest resounded with the songs and dances of a victory celebration.
His humiliation at the archery tournament only made Prince John more angry. "Double the taxes! TRIPLE the taxes!" he screamed to the Sheriff and Sir Hiss.
Prince John taxed the heart and soul out of the poor people of Nottingham. If they couldn't pay their taxes, the Sheriff threw them in jail!
The Sheriff even stole the last penny from the church's poor box. That was the last straw for the usually peaceful Friar Tuck!
"You thieving scoundrel!" Friar Tuck roared as he chased the startled Sheriff into the churchyard. Whack! Friar Tuck knocked the Sheriff right in the head with a quarterstaff!
"You're under arrest for high treason to the Crown!" the Sheriff cried, as he led the poor Friar away to jail in chains.
High in the castle, Prince John schemed again. "I'll use that fat Friar as bait to snare Robin Hood," the Prince growled. Prince John knew that Robin would try to rescue Friar Tuck.
A familiar beggar man wandered into the courtyard and watched as the Sheriff prepared the gallows for Friar Tuck. Robin Hood had an idea.
As the Sheriff snoozed soundly, Robin Hood and Little John climbed over the castle wall. Quick as a flash, Robin waylaid one of the guards and took his place.
Disguised as a guard, Robin stole the Sheriff's keys and let Little John into the jail. "You release Friar Tuck and the others," Robin whispered to Little John. "I'll drop in on the royal treasury!"
Little John happily went to work, unlocking the chains and shackles of all the imprisoned townsfolk and preparing them for the big jailbreak.
Meanwhile, Robin Hood made his way to the tower bedroom where greedy Prince John lay sleeping, surrounded by bags and bags of his ill-gotte tax money.
Working quickly, Robin rigged a pulley-system to carry the money bags out of Prince John's room and down to Little John, who waited in the courtyard below.
Friar Tuck and the other prisoners scurried out of the jail with as much of the tax money as they could carry.
Just as Robin Hood made off with the last bags of coins, Sir Hiss woke up and called for the guards.
With the castle guards shooting their arrows from below, Robin Hood made a daring leap from the tower and the hapless Prince John was pulled along with him!
As Robin Hood scampered to open the drawbridge, Little John and the others hurried away from the castle. Robin Hood stayed behind to deal with Prince John and the Sheriff.
Angrily swinging a flaming torch at the fleet-footed Robin Hood, the clumsy Sheriff set fire to the castle.
As Little John and Skippy watched in horror, Robin dashed to the top of the tower roof, with the flames licking at his feet! Suddenly, he made a heroic leap into the moat far below!
With his treasure lost, his castle ablaze, and Robin Hood escaped to safety, Prince John did what he usually did. He threw a tantrum, sucked his thumb, cried for his mommy, and blammed all his troubles on poor Sir Hiss!
King Richard soon returned home to England, and set everything right. The King declared that Robin Hood was no longer an outlaw. For their crimes, Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff were sentenced to hard labor on the royal rock pile.
Now that Robin Hood was no longer a wanted outlaw, he and Maid Marian were free to be married. "Long live Robin Hood!" the townspeople cried. "Long live King Richard!"
And that is the real story of what happened in Sherwood Forest!