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No, that's not Robin Hood

albion_robin_hood_sorrowful.jpg

Robin Hood helps the bankrupt knight with a loan. The knight insists on paying the money back "in a year and a day, either to thee or to the Lord Bishop of Hereford", whose money Robin had taken. Illustration by Howard Pyle

"Brilliant, new" interpretations of Robin Hood make me cross.

20th and 21st century re-distributors of other people's money like to refer to Robin Hood as "stealing from the rich and giving to the poor" when in fact he stole from tax-men - the sheriffs and abbots who despoiled the poor and the middle class, taxing them into penury. Robin gave the money back to their rightful owners.

Does it sound as if taking money back from the tax-men might have application today? Perhaps that's why you don't hear about it in modern interpretations of Robin Hood.

The other day, we were treated to the revisionist notion that Robin Hood was supposed to be a loan shark because he loaned a knight money.

Please.

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