Robin Hood: An Old Hero


The Robin Hood Memorial at Nottingham Castle
Olaf1541 via Wikimedia

Robin Basselin and Nick Page tell the old, famous story of Robin Hood. Are these stories true? Why are they still so popular?

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Nick Page.

Voice 2 

And I’m Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Many years ago, a man lived in the forests of England. He always carried his bow and arrows. He hunted deer and other animals. He had great skill with his weapons. He was poor, but many people respected him. The most beautiful woman in the kingdom loved him. He was a hero. But why? This man is a thief. He steals money from rich people. Then, he gives the money to poor people.

Voice 2 

This is the story of Robin Hood. Robin Hood’s story is famous. People like it because the story is about justice. And they have been telling versions of the story for centuries. But is the story true? Today’s Spotlight is on the story of Robin Hood.

Voice 1 

Many people around the world think they know the story of Robin Hood. A lot of people have seen the films of the story. But these are only the most recent versions. The Robin Hood story has changed a lot over the centuries. The true story of Robin Hood is much older and is very different.

Voice 2

Stories about Robin Hood first appeared in the 13th century. The name often appears in court records from that time. The authorities tried many men named “Robin Hood” for different crimes. People do not know a lot about these men. But they do know that these men were criminals. Experts have investigated many of these men, to find out if any of them were Robin Hood.

Voice 1 

In 1440, a writer made a note about a man named “Robert Hood.” Some experts think that this man may be the real Robin Hood. The writer tells of Robert Hood and his friend Little John. They lived in Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England. A criminal named Roger Godberd was using the name “Robert Hood”. This false name hid his identity. Godberd was not a good man - he was a murderer. How, then, did the stories make him into a hero?

Voice 2 

Godberd was an outlaw. The authorities had forced him out of the kingdom. Historical records say that Godberd was an outlaw because he fought against the King of England, King Henry III. During that time, rebels were fighting to control the government. They did not want a king. Instead, they wanted to rule. They believed that King Henry the Third was not just - he was too powerful.

Voice 1 

Godberd was one of those rebels. He fought against the king in a great bloody battle. This made many people like him. They believed his fight against the king was good. And this is why some experts think Godberd was Robin Hood. However, the truth is unclear. The true Robin Hood may be someone else. And some experts do not think that there is a real Robin Hood!

Voice 2

In the 15th century, ballads began to tell the story of Robin Hood. Ballads are stories set to music. Most people could not read in those times. So ballads were a popular way to hear stories. They were easy to remember and easy to listen to. People would sing stories of great heroes and frightening battles. More and more people heard about Robin Hood because of these ballads.

Voice 1 

Many people told the story of Robin Hood. But they all told the story in ways that were a little bit different. As a result, the story of Robin Hood began to change. It became difficult to know the true story. There was no way to know if he was even a real man. In the early ballads, Robin Hood is a great figure, always fighting for the poor. He fights against the Sheriff of Nottingham. The sheriff was like the police, a man who governed the area. But in these ballads, Robin Hood is a farmer, not a soldier like Godberd. And he does not steal from the rich.

Voice 2

These ballads about Robin Hood became a part of the culture in England. Every May, there is a holiday called May Day. May Day celebrates the season of Spring. And in the 15th century, it was very popular to celebrate Robin Hood on May Day. People wore green clothes to look like Robin Hood. They carried bows and arrows. They sang the ballads about him. They performed plays telling the story of Robin Hood.

Voice 1 

These May Day celebrations changed the stories. The stories became more like the stories we know now. For example, the plays added the character of Maid Marian. Maid Marian was a beautiful, wealthy woman. Writers added her to the plays to give Robin Hood a woman to love.

Voice 2 

These plays also changed when Robin lived. Originally, the stories were in the time of King Henry III. But the plays told the story in the time of King Richard. King Richard lived almost 100 years before King Henry.  King Richard was called “The Lionheart” because he led many great battles. King Richard was a popular king, but he was frequently far away from England fighting battles. Robin Hood in these plays liked the king. He fought for the king while the king was away.

Voice 1 

These May Day celebrations created a new and different Robin Hood. He is not the Robin Hood of the early ballads. Instead of being a farmer, he is a loyal friend of the king. Instead of being alone, he now has Maid Marian. And instead of fighting against the king, he fights for the king while the king is gone. This is the Robin Hood many people know now.

Voice 2 

But there is one part that did not change. Robin Hood is still a hero because he fights for the poor. He gets them the money that they need. He steals from rich people. Then he gives money to poor people. Robin Hood has become a symbol of justice for many people. He fights for justice for the poor - he wants all people to live well. And he wants to see equality between the poor and the rich. Many people think this is good.

Voice 1

But most people also think stealing is wrong. Do you think people can do wrong and still be good? Do you think Robin Hood can steal and still be a hero? You can email us your thoughts at radio@radioenglish.net. Or you can leave a comment on the script page of the program on our website.

Voice 2

The writer and producer of this program was Dianna Anderson. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Robin Hood: An Old Hero.”

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

Do you think people can do wrong and still be good?

Comments


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paulo86nirisco
said on January 07, 2013

PEOPLE IN BRAZIL NEED MANY ROBIN HOOD

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MinhDuc
said on January 07, 2013

It is said and believe that ‘THE WAY WE DO IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT WE DO’.

Luis Piedra's avatar
Luis Piedra
said on January 07, 2013

The Robin Hood story is a example of life for people.
So do good and not evil people and will live forever in the way of real life.
Thanks Spotlight

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juan Reyes
said on January 10, 2013

I think that it is better way teaching people a career to prepare and in that way they can get everything that they want. It is really important people learn by themselves what they really need. we should help people to think by themselves.

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DOC
said on January 10, 2013

We must not forget that good and evil belong to the same person, the story of Robin Hood is a simplistic story between good and evil but we know that the reality is much more complex and that in fact good and evil can be something abstract and relative as well as right and wrong and that the story will always be told by those who won

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lgavilanes1960
said on January 14, 2013

many years ago, i read Robin Hood´s book. in spanish, i think that it story is beatiful. for in less important if it is true or false.

The world we need many Robin Hood

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lgavilanes1960
said on January 14, 2013

i´sorry my english, but i am learnig

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LUISA FERNANDA
said on March 18, 2014

It´s interestingit the story, but I think that Robbin hod, He could be a real hero, without stealing a the people. It is not good to have a split personality.

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Dela
said on March 19, 2014

Certainly, evil and good often can combine in human being, it is incorrect to assess a person as he is only wrong or only right. The most important, basic meaning of Robin Hood’s story consists in his fighting for rightness and first of all helping the poor people too. Although the story of Robin Hood has changed during the time, the people still will like it and keep in the memory too.
Greetings!

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georgino
said on March 19, 2014

I like this story about Robin Hood, each country has Robin Hoods   fighting for the rights of the people, and think we must protets when the justice is only for the goverment and not for everyone.

Thanks, friends
greetings
jr

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Jacky
said on May 11, 2014

Heroes for justice are necessary all the time. Today also.

hellokitty's avatar
hellokitty
said on May 12, 2014

I’ve never seen this story! So I was amazed by his stroy. Thanks spotlight,

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miboo
said on May 12, 2014

it is good to do something for the poor. Robin Hood work for the poor anyway. But if there is something wrong, he continue stealed If I had been Robin Hood, I would have do something could done all. for poor. if Robin Hood did like this, he would not be called righteous ‘outlaw’

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Honneur
said on December 03, 2019

It depends on what do you may find wrong or good. Is the soldier who kills many enemies in battle a bad or a good soldier? Was the man who threw Fat Boy, the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima wrong or he just did his job? The first atomic bomb killed over 80,000 people right away, but saved much more than that because it sped up the end of the war ... It’s hard to think that we are the only ones who know the truth ...