THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD 343
calling his men to follow him, he marched to the church. The noise they made in entering caused Robin to look round. 'Alas, alas,' he said to himself, 'now miss I Little John.'
But he drew his two-handed sword and laid about him in such wise that twelve of the Sheriff's men lay dead before him. Then Robin found himself face to face with the Sheriff, and gave him a fierce blow; but his sword broke on the Sheriff's head, and he had shot away all his arrows. So the men closed round him, and bound his arms.
Ill news travels fast, and not many hours had passed before the foresters heard that their master was in prison. They wept and moaned and wrung their hands, and seemed to have gone suddenly mad, till Little John bade them pluck up their hearts and help him to deal with the monk.
The next morning he hid himself, and waited with a comrade, Much by name, till he saw the monk riding along the road, with a page behind him, carrying letters from the Sheriff to the King telling of Robin's capture.
' Whence come you ? ' asked Little John, going up to the monk, ' and can you give us tidings of a false outlaw named Robin Hood, who was taken prisoner yesterday ? He robbed both me and my fellow of twenty marks, and glad should we be to hear of his undoing.'
' He robbed me, too,' said the monk, ' of a hundred pounds and more, but I have laid hands on him, and for that you may thank me.'
' T thank you so much that, with your leave, I and my friend will bear you company,' answered Little John ; 'for in this forest are many wild men who own Robin Hood for leader, and you ride along this road at the peril of your life.'
They went on together, talking the while, when suddenly Little John seized the horse by the head and pulled down the monk by his hood.