THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD 329
deaths I had to pay a large sum, which I could not raise without giving my lands in pledge to the rich Abbot of St. Mary's. If I cannot bring him the money by a certain day they will be lost to me for ever.'
' What is the sum ? ' asked Robin. ' Tell me truly.'
'It is four hundred pounds,' said the Knight.
' And what will you do if you lose your lands ?' asked Robin again.
' Hide myself over the sea,' said the Knight, ' and bid farewell to my friends and country. There is no better way open to me.'
At this tears fell from his eyes, and he turned him to depart. ' Good day, my friend,' he said to Robin, ' I cannot pay you what I should-----' But Robin held him
fast. ' Where are your friends ? ' asked he.
' Sir, they have all forsaken me since I became poor, and they turn away their heads if we meet upon the road, though when I was rich they were ever in my castle.'
When Little John and Will Scarlett and the rest heard this they wept for very shame and fury and Robin bade them fill a cup of the best wine, and give it to the Knight.
' Have you no one who would stay surety for you ?' said he.
'None,' answered the Knight, 'but only Our Lady, who has never yet failed to help me.'
'You speak well,' said Robin, 'and you, Little John, go to my treasure chest, and bring me thence four hundred pounds. And be sure you count it truly.'
So Little John went, and Will Scarlett, and they brought back the money.
'Sir,' said Little John, when Robin had counted it and found it no more nor no less, 'look at his clothes, how thin they are ! You have stores of garments, green and scarlet, in your coffers — no merchant in England can boast the like. I will measure some out with my bow.' And thus he did,