Introduction

In English tradition, Robin Hood is a fearless outlaw who was believed to be an expert archer and swordsman. He is frequently seen with his troop of Merry Men  “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor,” traditionally represented as wearing Lincoln green.  Robin Hood rose to fame as a folk hero and has since appeared frequently in literature, movies, and television. Little John and Robin Hood stumble upon a pedlar carrying a pack and are curious about it. Little John requests half of it, but the pedlar refuses. This causes a conflict. The pedlar eventually succeeds after a tussle between the three of them.

About The Poet

Francis James Child was a philosopher, educator, and folklorist from the United States. He is best known for compiling the Child Songs, a collection of Scottish and English ballads. At Harvard University, Child served as the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, where he edited important works of English poetry.

Theme Of The Poem

A pedlar introduces himself to Robin Hood and Little John and lets them know what he has in his pack. Little John asks for half of it, but the pedlar declines to comply. This leads to a fight. Finally, after a struggle between the two of them, the pedlar triumphs. He introduces himself as Gamble Gold and claims he is running away from his father’s estate because he killed a man there. They go to the bar and have drinks together when Robin recognises him as the son of his mother’s sister.

Stanza 1

   There chanced to be a Pedlar bold,
 A Pedlar bold there chanced to be; 
He put his pack all on his back, 
And so merrily trudged over the lea.   

Once, a bold pedlar appeared. He hoisted his entire pack on his back and proceeded to briskly span the lea.

Stanza 2

By chance he met two troublesome men, 
Two troublesome men they chanced to be, 
The one of them was bold Robin Hood, 
And the other was little John so free.

By luck, he encountered two bothersome characters, who just so happened to be the daring Robin Hood and the innocent young John.

Stanza 3

  O Pedlar, Pedlar, what is in thy pack? 
Come speedily and tell to me. 
I’ve several suits of the gay green silks, 
And silken bowstrings by two or three.  

Both the kids asked the pedlar, what was in his sack. They requested him to tell them right away.  The pedlar responded that he has a number of vibrantly coloured green silk outfits as well as two or three silky bowstrings.

Stanza 4

  If you have several suits of the gay green silk, 
And silken bowstrings two or three 
Then, by my body, cries little John, 
One half of your pack shall belong to me.   

Since he owns a number of bright green silk garments and two to three silken bowstrings,  Little John cries out that half of the pedlar’s baggage shall be his.

Stanza 5

O nay, O nay, said the pedlar bold, 
O nay, O nay, that can never be 
For there’s never a man from fair Nottingham, 
Can ask one half my pack from me.

The pedlar loudly exclaimed, “O no, O no,” because no man from Nottingham has ever asked him for half of his pack.

Stanza 6

Then the pedlar he pulled off his pack
And put it a little below his knee, 
Saying, If you do move me one perch from this
My pack and all shall gang with thee.    
  

Then the pedlar removed his pack and placed it just below his knee, telling the children that if they moved him even one peg from his pack, everyone would team up with them.

Stanza 7

  Then little John he drew his sword, 
The pedlar by his pack did stand, 
They fought until they both did sweat, 
Till he cried, Pedlar, pray hold your hand.

Little John then pulled out his sword. The pedlar remained beside his bundle. He wept and begged the pedlar to hold his hand steady while they wrestled until they both started to perspire.

Stanza 8

Then Robin Hood he was standing by, 
And he did laugh most heartily, 
Saying, I could find a man of smaller scale, 
Could thrash the pedlar and also thee.  

Then Robin Hood was there, and he laughed loudly while saying that he could recruit a guy of lower stature who would beat both John and the pedlar.

Stanza 9

   Go you try, master, says little John, 
Go you try , master, most speedily,
 For by my body, says little John, 
I am sure this night you will know me.   

“Master, go try,” replies young John to Robin Hood.

As soon as you can, for by my physique, says tiny John, I’m confident you’ll recognize me this evening.

Stanza 10

The robin hood he drew his sword
And the pedlar by his pack did stand; 
They fought till the blood in streams did flow, 
Till he cried, pedlar, pray hold your hand.

The robin hood pulled out his sword. They engaged in combat until blood began to pour in streams, and the pedlar stood by his bag. “Hold your hand” he requested the pedlar sobbingly.