330 THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD
' Master,' spoke Little John again, ' there is still something else. You must give him a horse, that he may go as beseems his quality to the Abbey.'
'Take the grey horse,' said Robin, 'and put a new saddle on it, and take likewise a good palfrey and a' pair of boots, with gilt spurs on them. And as it were a shame for a Knight to ride by himself on this errand, I wrill lend you Little John as Squire — perchance he may stand you in yeoman's stead.'
' When shall we meet again ?' asked the Knight.
' This day twelve months,' said Eobin, ' under the greenwood tree.'
Then the Knight rode on his wray, with Little John behind him, and as he went he thought of Robin Hood and his men, and blessed them for the goodness they had shown towards him.
'To-morrow,' he said to Little John, 'I must be at the Abbey of St. Mary, which is in the city of York, for if I am but so much as a day late my lands are lost for ever, and though I wrere to bring the money I should not be suffered to redeem them.'
Now the Abbot had been counting the days as well as the Knight, and the next morning he said to his monks: ' This day year there came a Knight and borrowed of me four hundred pounds, giving his lands in surety. And if he come not to pay his debt ere midnight tolls they wTill be ours for ever.'
' It is full early yet,' answered the Prior, 'he may still be coming.'
' He is far beyond the sea,' said the Abbot,' and suffers from hunger and cold. How is he to get here ?'
'It were a shame,' said the Prior, ' for you to take his lands. And you do him much wrong if you drive such a hard bargain.'
' He is dead or hanged,' spake a fat-headed monk wrho was the cellarer, 'and we shall have his four hundred