THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD 337
They ate and drank till they wanted no more, then they broke the locks of the treasure house, and took of the silver as much as they could carry, three hundred pounds and more, and departed unseen by anyone to Robin in the forest.
' Welcome! Welcome!' cried Robin when he saw them, ' welcome, too, to the fair yeoman you bring with you. What tidings from Nottingham, Little John ?'
' The proud Sheriff greets you, and sends you by my hand his cook and his silver vessels, and three hundred pounds and three also.'
Robin shook his head, for he knew better than to believe Little John's tale. ' It was never by his good will that you brought such treasure to me,' he answered, and Little John, fearing that he might be ordered to take it back again, slipped away into the forest to carry out a plan that had just come into his head.
He ran straight on for five miles, till he came up with the Sheriff, who was still hunting, and flung himself on his knees before him.
' Reynold Greenleaf,' cried the Sheriff, ' what are you doing here, and where have you been ?'
' I have been in the forest, where I saw a fair hart of a green colour, and sevenscore deer feeding hard by.'
'That sight would I see too,' said the Sheriff.
'Then follow me,' answered Little John, and he ran back the way he came, the Sheriff following on horseback,, till they turned a corner of the forest, and found themselves in Robin Hood's presence. ' Sir, here is the master-hart,' said Little John.
Still stood the proud Sheriff,
A sorry man was he, 'Woe be to you, Reynold Greenleaf,
Thou hast betrayed me !'
' It was not my fault,' answered Little John, ' but the fault of your servants, master. For they would not give me my dinner,' and he went away to see to the supper. 22