Robin Fitzooth is Born in Sherwood Forest
The Robin Hood stories are very famous. Most people know that Robin lived in Saxon and Norman times. He robbed rich people and gave the money to poor people. But not everybody knows that he came from a rich family. And not many people know that Robin Hood was half-Saxon and half-Norman.
The story begins with Robin Hood’s Saxon grandfather, Sir George Gamwell lived near a Norman lord. This lord wanted to take Gamwell’s house and his lands. The two men fought, and the Norman lord killed Gamwell’s two sons. Gamwell’s wife also died.
But Sir George also had a young daughter, Joanna.
“I have no sons”, Gamwell said to Joanna. “So I will teach you to fight with a sword, and with a bow and arrow”.
Five years later, Joanna was nineteen years old and very beautiful. One day, a young man visited Sir George. His name was William Fitzooth, and he was a Norman.
“Sir George”, he began, “I love your daughter. I hope that she loves me. I would like to marry her. I have money and land…”
But Sir George was very angry.
“Never!” He answered. “My daughter will never marry you. Get off my land. Do not come here again or I will kill you!”
Joanna loved this young man. So she tried to talk to her father, but he didn’t want to listen.
“Go to your room!” He shouted. “I do not want to hear that man’s name again”.
That night, William came back to Sir George’s home. He stood under Joanna’s window and called to her. Joanna took some clothes and came quietly out of the house.
William took her hand. “Will you come with me and marry me?” He asked. “We cannot live in my home because your father’s men will look for you there. So we will live in the green forest.”
“I am sorry for my father”, Joanna said sadly, “but I love you. O know you are a good man. I will marry you.”
In the morning, Sir George woke late. He called to his men, “Where is my daughter? I want to speak to her.”
But Joanna was nowhere in the house.
Sir George was very angry, then very sad.
“I have no family now”, he thought.
One fine day in April, a year later, a man came to the house.
“Your daughter sent me here”, he said. “She wants you to come and see her.”
Sir George followed the man to the middle of Sherwood Forest. There, in the spring sunshine, he saw his daughter. He also saw a baby boy in her arms. Joanna looked up at her father and smiled.
“This is Robin, your grandson”, she said.
She gave the baby to her father. Sir George wanted to be angry, but he was very happy with his grandson in his arms.
“Robin? Is that your name?” He said. “Well, little Robin, I wanted to kill your father but that is not possible now. Please, daughter, come with your husband and live near me. Let’s forget the past.”
“We will come and live near you, father”, said Joanna. “But I will often bring my son to the forest. I will teach him to find his way in the forest in the day and at night. He will learn to make arrows for his bow, and to catch forest animals. He will make a fire and cook the meat. The forest will always be his second home.”