The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A rollicking good time. This long version by traditional storyteller Howard Pyle hums with the merriment of Robin's band of brothers. Their adventures involve bringing justice to folks in need, at the expense of the apathetic or oppressive rich and powerful passing near Sherwood forest.
It struck me that Robin Hood presents some lessons from the 1200s on masculinity, which we might not learn in our culture. The typical reference to Robin's merry men today tends to be an off color homosexual reference, which only shows how little we understand true masculinity.
1. Good men are quick to laugh, not because they are fools but because they pursue a life of joy.
2. True men can laugh at themselves. They are not so caught up in their ego, pride or machismo that they don't see when they have BEEN the joke.
3. Real men aren't afraid of others of superior ability, but invite them to join them in common cause. This strengthens them in a community that depends on others. It is amazing how many times Robin loses a fight, then asks the winner to join him.
4. Men trust other friends with their lives. We need friends to share our fight, walk our road, and tell our stories with us.
Be a real man like Robin Hood.
I'm not sure it was intended originally, but the premise presents a powerful parallel with David, outlawed from Saul in 1 Samuel. Both David and Robin gather those indebted or out of favor or outlawed to the king. Both are really in the right and will be vindicated in the future. Both work for the good of the kingdom (and themselves) before that time comes, by plundering God's enemies. Both are pursued by the oppressive authorities (Saul, the Sheriff), but are vindicated by higher authorities (God, King Richard).
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