338 THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD
It was spread under the greenwood tree, and they sat down to it, hungry men all. But when the Sheriff saw himself served from his own vessels, his appetite went from him.
' Take heart, man,' said Robin Hood, ' and think not we will poison you. For charity's sake, and for the love of Little John, your life shall be granted you. Only for twelve months you shall dwell with me, and learn what it is to be an outlaw.'
To the Sheriff this punishment was worse to bear than the loss of gold or silver dishes, and earnestly he begged Robin Hood to set him free, vowing he would prove himself the best friend that ever the foresters had.
Neither Robin nor any of his men believed him, but he took a great oath that he would never seek to do them harm, and that if he found any of them in evil plight he would deliver them out of it. With that Robin let him go.