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The Merry Men
Merry Men
are the group of outlaws who follow Robin Hood
Robin Hood
in English literature and folklore. The band appears in the earliest ballads about Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and remains popular in modern adaptations. History[edit] The early ballads give specific names to only three companions: Little John, Much the Miller's Son, and William Scarlock or Scathelock, the Will Scarlet of later traditions. Joining them are between 20 and "seven score" (140) outlawed yeomen. The most prominent of the Merry Men is Robin's second-in-command, Little John. He appears in the earliest ballads, and is mentioned in even earlier sources, such as Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Chronicle of around 1420 and Walter Bower's expansion of the Scotichronicon, completed around 1440. Later ballads name additional Merry Men, some of whom appear in only one or two ballads, while others, like the minstrel Alan-a-Dale and the jovial Friar Tuck, became fully attached to the legend. Several of the Robin Hood
Robin Hood
ballads tell the story of how individual Merry Men
Merry Men
join the group; this is frequently accomplished by defeating Robin in a duel. The phrase "merry man" was originally a generic term for any follower or companion of an outlaw, knight, or similar leader.[1] Robin's band are called "mery men" in the oldest known Robin Hood
Robin Hood
ballad, "Robin Hood and the Monk",[2] which survives in a manuscript completed around 1450.[3] Known Merry Men[edit]

Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Merry Men
Merry Men
(illustration by Pablo Marcos, ca. 1995)

Little John – Robin's lieutenant. Later stories depict him as a huge man who joins the band after fighting Robin with quarterstaves over a river. Much the Miller's Son – A grown man and a seasoned fighter in the early ballads. Later stories depict him as one of the youngest of the Merry Men. As his name suggests, he is the son of Much the Miller. Will Scarlet – Another very early companion, appearing in ballads like "A Gest of Robyn Hode". In " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Newly Revived" he is a skilled swordsman and Robin's nephew. Arthur a Bland – He appears in only one ballad, " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Tanner". He is an accused poacher who bests Robin in a fight and joins the band. David of Doncaster – He appears only in " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Golden Arrow". He warns Robin against going to the Sheriff of Nottingham's archery contest because it is a trap. In his novel The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Howard Pyle
Howard Pyle
identifies David with the anonymous wrestler of "A Gest of Robyn Hode". Will Stutely – He appears in two ballads, " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Little John" and " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Rescuing Will Stutly". In the former, he gives Little John
Little John
his outlaw name; in the latter, he must be rescued after he is caught spying by the Sheriff of Nottingham. He is occasionally confused with Will Scarlet. Friar Tuck – The resident clergyman of the band. Tuck developed separately from the Robin Hood
Robin Hood
tradition; similar characters appear in 15th- and 16th-century plays, and an early 15th-century outlaw used the alias Friar Tuck.[4] A fighting friar appears in the ballad "Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar", though he is not named. Robin and the friar engage in a battle of wits, which at one point involves the holy man carrying the outlaw across a river, only to toss him in. In the end, the friar joins the Merry Men. Later stories portray Tuck as more ale-loving and jovial than belligerent. Alan-a-Dale – A roving minstrel. He appears in the later ballad " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Allan-a-Dale", in which Robin helps him rescue his sweetheart who is being forced into marriage with another man. Despite his relatively late appearance, he became a popular character in later versions. Gilbert Whitehand (or Gilbert with the White Hand) – Portrayed in "A Gest of Robyn Hode" as a skilled archer nearly equal to Robin. He appears along with other Merry Men
Merry Men
during the shooting match for the gold and silver arrow, and again in Barnsdale Forest
Barnsdale Forest
during a visit by the disguised king.[5] Reynold Greenleaf - Although this name was used as an alias by Little John in "A Gest of Robyn Hode" when he tricked his way into the Sheriff's service,[6] there is a Reynold presented later in the ballad as a separate member of the Merry Men
Merry Men
who competed in the archery match for the gold and silver arrow alongside Robin, Little John
Little John
and others of the band.[7] Maid Marian – Robin Hood's romantic interest. Marian developed separately from the Robin Hood
Robin Hood
tradition; the medieval French play Jeu de Robin et Marion tells the story of the shepherdess Marian and the knight Robin, and is unrelated to Robin Hood. The medieval archetype of Marian became associated with English and Scottish May Day festivities, and was eventually associated with Robin Hood.[8] She is the protagonist of the ballad " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Maid Marian" and is mentioned in " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Queen Katherine" and "Robin Hood's Golden Prize". In "Maid Marian" she joins the Merry Men
Merry Men
by fighting Robin to a draw while both are in disguise.[9] In some Victorian literature she takes a more passive role as a noblewoman and Robin's desired, but this all but ended in the 20th century as Marian resumed her role as a cross-dressing tomboy and a capable fighter. She is depicted as such in the 1952 film The Story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merrie Men, the television series Robin of Sherwood, and the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The children's comedy television series Maid Marian and her Merry Men
Merry Men
takes this a step further by placing Marian in charge of the group. In the 2006 series Robin Hood, Marian works as a double agent, feeding Robin critical information about the Sheriff. The Tinker
Tinker
– A tinker by profession (a tinsmith and mender of utensils) who tried to capture Robin for the reward money, but eventually became one of his Merry Men. Though he is not named in the original ballad " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Tinker" he is given various names in later adaptations.[10] Howard Pyle
Howard Pyle
calls him Wat o' the Crabstaff (a reference to the quarterstaff he uses as a weapon),[11] while in Bold Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Outlaw Band by Louis Rhead
Louis Rhead
he is named Dick o' Banbury.[12] The Cook – A cook who lived in the household of the Sheriff. Sometime after Little John
Little John
had tricked his way into the Sheriff's service, he and the cook fought each other with swords. Neither one besting the other, they became friends and the cook was invited by Little John
Little John
to join Robin's band. Though he is not named in "A Gest of Robyn Hode" (in which he first appeared), he is given various names in later adaptations.[13] In The Life and Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
by John B. Marsh he is known by the epithet Firepan and his skill as a cook is matched by his fame as a swordsman.[14] In Stories of Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws by J. Walker McSpadden, it is none other than Much himself who originally served the Sheriff as his cook until he joined the Merry Men
Merry Men
after his duel with Little John.[15] The Ranger – A forester who was responsible for protecting the king's deer. When he encountered Robin and learned that he was poaching, they fought each other with swords and then with quarterstaves. The forester (who is not named) defeated Robin who then offered him a place among his company of outlaws as told in "Robin Hood and the Ranger".[16] The Pinder – A pinder by profession (an impounder of stray animals) who encountered Robin, Little John
Little John
and Will Scarlet together. Like other tales in which Robin duels an opponent and meets his match, they engaged in swordplay until a truce was made. The pinder was then invited to join the Merry Men
Merry Men
which he pledged to do after the day of Michaelmas
Michaelmas
when the contract with his former employer ran out, as told in "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield".[17][18] Though the character is not identified in the ballad, he is named in the Robin Hood
Robin Hood
play George a Greene, the Pinner of Wakefield printed in 1599,[19] the 1632 chapbook The Famous History of George a Greene, Pinder of Wakefield [20] and other similar works of the period. This is the name likewise used by Maude Radford Warren
Maude Radford Warren
in her 1914 collection Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merry Men
Merry Men
where he also serves as a self-appointed guardian of the peace.[21] Henry Gilbert in Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1912) calls him Sim of Wakefield.[22] The Scotchman – A Scot
Scot
who Robin met while on a journey north. He offered to serve Robin who refused at first, thinking that he would prove false, but then he agreed on the condition that they first engage in a duel. The Scot
Scot
won the fight and became a member of Robin's band, as told in " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Scotchman".[23] The Three Yeomen
Yeomen
- Three yeomen (landowning farmers) who were about to be hanged by the Sheriff of Nottingham
Sheriff of Nottingham
for poaching until they were saved by Robin and a company of archers. They were taken back to the safety of the greenwood and joined Robin's band, as told in "Robin Hood and the Beggar" (version 1).[24]

Several modern adaptations add a member to the group who is a Moor or Saracen:

This began with the 1984–86 television series Robin of Sherwood, which included the character Nasir (portrayed by Mark Ryan), a former hashshashin who joins the Merry Men. The character influenced the writers of the 1989–94 BBC TV children's series Maid Marian
Maid Marian
and Her Merry Men, which featured the black character Barrington (played by Danny John Jules) and 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, who included the Moor Azeem (played by Morgan Freeman). The 1993 Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
comedy Robin Hood: Men in Tights featured Dave Chappelle as Achoo, a parody of Freeman's Azeem comically depicted with modern African American
African American
mannerisms and speech. The 1997–99 television series The New Adventures of Robin Hood featured Kemal (played by Hakim Alston), a Saracen
Saracen
who was a professional assassin in Palestine. The 2006 series Robin Hood
Robin Hood
introduced Djaq (Anjali Jay), a Saracen ex-slave. A twist in Djaq's description is that Djaq is actually a girl disguised as a boy.

References[edit]

^ "Merry man, n.". Oxford English Dictionary. 2001. Retrieved May 2, 2013.  ^ " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Monk" line 35 ^ Knight, Stephen; and Ohlgren, Thomas H. (1997). Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Monk: Introduction. From TEAMS Middle English Texts. Retrieved January 22, 2007. ^ Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Curtal Friar: Introduction. Retrieved January 22, 2007. ^ "A Gest of Robyn Hode" lines 1165–8, 1600–16 ^ "A Gest of Robyn Hode" lines 595–600 ^ "A Gest of Robyn Hode" lines 1169–72 ^ Jeffrey Richards, (1980). Swordsmen of the Screen: From Douglas Fairbanks to Michael York, p. 190. Routledge & Kegan Paul, Lond, Henly and Boston. ^ Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Maid Marian: Introduction. Retrieved January 22, 2007. ^ " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Tinker" ^ Pyle, Howard (1929) [1883]. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 15. ^ Rhead, Louis (1912). Bold Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Outlaw Band. Harper & Brothers. p. 100. ^ "A Gest of Robyn Hode" lines 651–715 ^ Marsh, John B. (1865). The Life and Adventures of Robin Hood. George Routledge and Sons. pp. 259, 268. ^ McSpadden, J. Walker (1904). Stories of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merry Outlaws. Thomas Y. Crowell & Company. p. 56. ^ " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Ranger" ^ "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield" Introduction ^ "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield" Ballad
Ballad
Text ^ "George a Greene" Robin Hood: The Facts and the Fiction. ^ International Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Bibliography ^ Warren, Maude Radford (1914). Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merry Men. Rand McNally & Company. p. 46. ^ Gilbert, Henry (1994) [1912]. Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(originally published as Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Men of the Greenwood). Wordsworth Editions. p. 102. ISBN 1853261270. ^ " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Scotchman" ^ " Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Beggar, I"

v t e

Robin Hood

Characters

Robin Hood Maid Marian Merry Men Much the Miller's Son Little John Friar Tuck Alan-a-Dale Will Scarlet Will Stutely Gilbert Whitehand Arthur a Bland David of Doncaster The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield Sheriff of Nottingham Guy of Gisbourne Prince John Bishop of Hereford Richard at the Lee King Richard

Settings

Sherwood Forest Nottingham Loxley Barnsdale Wentbridge

Screen

Film

Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1912) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1922) The Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1938) The Bandit of Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest
(1946) The Prince of Thieves
The Prince of Thieves
(1948) The Story of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merrie Men (1952) The Men of Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest
(1954) Sword of Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest
(1960) A Challenge for Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1967) The Scalawag Bunch
The Scalawag Bunch
(1971) Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1973) The Arrows of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1975) Robin and Marian
Robin and Marian
(1976) Aaj Ka Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1988) O Mistério de Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1990) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1991) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(2010) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(2018)

TV

Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1953) The Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1955) The Legend of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1968) The Legend of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1975) Robin of Sherwood (1984) The New Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1997) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(2006)

Animated

Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Makes Good (1939) Rabbit Hood
Rabbit Hood
(1949) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Daffy (1958) Robin Hoodwinked
Robin Hoodwinked
(1958) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1973) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1990) Young Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1991) Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and His Merry Mouse (2012)

Parody

When Things Were Rotten
When Things Were Rotten
(1975) The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1984) Maid Marian
Maid Marian
and Her Merry Men
Merry Men
(1989) Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Alternate settings

Mexicali Rose (1939 film) Robin and the 7 Hoods
Robin and the 7 Hoods
(1964 film) Naan Sigappu Manithan (1985 Tamil film) Nyayam Meere Cheppali
Nyayam Meere Cheppali
(1985 Telugu film) Catch Me Now
Catch Me Now
(2008 Chinese TV series) Alyas Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(2016 Philippines TV Series)

Popular culture

Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(Once Upon a Time character) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(DC Comics character)

Child ballads

8: Erlinton 102: Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter 103: Rose the Red and White Lily 115: Robyn and Gandeleyn 117: A Gest of Robyn Hode 118: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Guy of Gisborne 119: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Monk 120: Robin Hood's Death 121: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Potter 123: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Curtal Friar 124: The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield 126: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Tanner 127: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Tinker 128: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Newly Revived 129: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Prince of Aragon 130: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Scotchman 131: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Ranger 132: The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood 136: Robin Hood's Delight 138: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Allan-a-Dale 139: Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham 140: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Rescuing Three Squires 141: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Rescuing Will Stutly 142: Little John
Little John
a Begging 143: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Bishop 144: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Bishop of Hereford 145: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and Queen Katherine 146: Robin Hood's Chase 147: Robin Hood's Golden Prize 148: The Noble Fisherman 149: The Noble Fisherman 151: The King's Disguise, and Friendship with Robin Hood 152: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Golden Arrow 153: Robin Hood
Robin Hood
and the Valiant Knight 154: A True Tale of Robin Hood

Stage / Theatre

The Downfall and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington (1598 and 1601 plays) The Merrie Men of Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest
(1871 operetta) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1890 opera) The Foresters
The Foresters
(1892 play) Twang!!
Twang!!
(1965 musical parody) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1934 opera) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1998 ballet) Robin des Bois
Robin des Bois
(2013 musical)

Video games

Robin of the Wood
Robin of the Wood
(1985) The Curse of Sherwood (1987) The Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1991) Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1991) Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood (2002) Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown (2003) Volume (2015)

Literature

Ivanhoe
Ivanhoe
(1819) Maid Marian
Maid Marian
(1822) The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(1883) Bows against the Barons
Bows against the Barons
(1934) The Once and Future King
The Once and Future King
(1958) The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988) Through a Dark Mist
Through a Dark Mist
(1991) Lady of the Forest
Lady of the Forest
(1992) In the Shadow of Midnight
In the Shadow of Midnight
(1994) The Last Arrow (1997) Lady of Sherwood
Lady of Sherwood
(1999) Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai (2005) King Raven Trilogy (2006)

Music

Legend (1984 soundtrack) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(2006 soundtrack) Robin Hood
Robin Hood
– czwarta strzała (1997) "Love" (song) "Not in Nottingham" (song) "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" (song) The Tale of Gamelyn

Alan Dale

Outlaw (2009) Holy Warrior
Holy Warrior
(2010) King's Man
King's Man
(2011) Warlord (2012) Grail Knight (2013) The Iron Castle (2014) The King's Assassin (2015) The Death of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
(2016)

Related

Miss Robin Hood Son of the Guardsman The Son of Robin Hood The Bandit of Sherwood Forest Princess of Thieves Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Morality Test "Robot of Sherwood" "Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry Men

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