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کتاب های ساده

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CHAPTER 15 - The Tall Friar

People loved King Richard because he was a brave man and a good king. But his brother, Prince John, only wanted to be king and to be rich. People hated him.

When King Richard was in England, the prince and other important Norman lords had to listen to their king. They could not take land and money from weaker men. But Richard fought in Jerusalem for many years. When the king was away, Prince John and his friends were greedy and unkind.

Then, one day, the prince got a letter from the Sheriff of Nottingham.

‘My Lord Prince,’ wrote the sheriff, ‘the people are saying that your brother Richard is here in the North. They say he is going from town to town and asking questions about me - and about you. We will have to be very careful…’

‘So,’ thought the prince, ‘Richard is in England again. Why isn’t he dead? And why didn’t he come here to London? What stories about me is he listening to? I think I too will go to Nottingham and visit my friend the sheriff. Perhaps he can tell me more.’

So the prince took the Great North Road to the sheriff’s house. A hundred strong men went with him. They took the road through Sherwood Forest, and there they met a churchman. The man was very tall and strong and he wore a great hood over his face.

‘Well, friar,’ said the prince, ‘you are a brave man. Is nobody with you? Aren’t you afraid? Don’t you know that the robber, Robin Hood, lives in Sherwood Forest?’

‘People say that Robin Hood does not hurt poor men,’ said the friar.

‘People say stupid things,’ answered the prince angrily. ‘They say that my brother Richard is in England. But I say that he is dead! I will be king then. Now move out of my way!’

The tall man moved out of the way of the horses. He looked back at Prince John and his men for some minutes. Then he left the road and walked quickly into the forest. The tall man walked for a long time.

Evening came. Then he heard something up in the trees: ‘Good evening, brother. Why are you walking in the forest? Is nobody with you? Are you not afraid?’

The tall man laughed.

‘Another person asked me that question. I am not afraid. I am looking for Robin Hood.’

Will Scarlet jumped down lightly from the tree.

‘Then I will take you to him,’ he said.

When they arrived in the middle of the forest, Robin’s men were there. There was good food on the tables again.

‘Robin!’ called Will. ‘This good friar wants to meet you.’ ‘We want to meet him too,’ said Robin. ‘We will eat with rich men, but we ask them to pay for their dinner. Poor people pay us with their stories. What is your story, friend? Why do you want to meet me ?’ ‘This is my story,’ said the friar. ‘I left England with King Richard.

Now the king is in England again, and I came too.

People everywhere tell me stories about Robin Hood, so I wanted to meet you.’

‘Oh, Robin,’ said Marian, ‘this is wonderful. The king is here in England! Let’s go and find him. We can tell him everything about the sheriff and Prince John…’

‘I love no man in the world more than the king,’ said Robin. ‘But what will he think? His brother is a greedy man. I can tell him that. But Prince John will say I am a robber. I think, for now, that I will stay quiet.’

The tall churchman stood up.

‘You are wrong, Robin,’ he said. Then he called loudly, ‘To me! To me!’

Suddenly fifty strong men came out of the dark night and stood behind him.

‘What is this?’ said Robin. ‘Are you Prince John’s man? Are the prince and his men here ? Are they really so brave ?’ ‘Perhaps my brother is not a brave man. But I am Richard, your king, and I wanted to meet the famous Robin Hood. I hear many good stories about you, Robin. And other people also tell me bad stories about my brother. I know that John gave your lands to the sheriff. But from today, you will be Robin of Locksley again, and the king’s friend.’

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