(This is not what you heard in kindergarten.)
If you were a environmentalist in medieval Nottinghamshire, then you would love the laws of Sherwood Forest. The trees were never cut down, no one ever went hunting or fishing, and few people ever walked under the thick foliage except for the foresters who helped wounded animals and kept the forest clean. Of course, if you voiced your love of the laws anywhere within a hundred miles of Sherwood, well, heh, heh, the peasants would probably tear you limb from limb and dump you in their stew invite you to dinner. The peasants hated the laws that forbade anyone from hunting in Sherwood almost as much as they hated obeying them, and that was quite a bit.
Many is the time some hungry farmer, unable to survive after paying the large amount of taxes demanded by the baron of Nottingham, would sneak into Sherwood and try to shoot a deer. They almost never succeeded (not realizing that the 30-06 hadn’t been invented yet), and would inevitably be found out by one of the foresters who would say: “Hey pal, I wonder if you would mind posing there with your nonexistent rifle while I snap a picture so I can prove you broke the law and get a reward.”
The farmer would graciously strike an elegant pose while the forester (who, by the way, was an early form of the mean type of conservation officer) fumbled with his lens cap. Then, when the forester finally realizes that his camera is digital, the farmer would vanish in a similar fashion as that of a ten-year-old boy who has hit his baseball through the old grouch’s window.
Still, later that day, a tall man in a black cloak and hood would come to the farmer’s door and say politely: “Ah, would you mind coming with me to this evening’s hanging? We’ve arranged for your limo, and your coffin is being carved even now. It won’t cost you a thing!”
The farmer, never one to pass up anything that was free, even if it was his own execution, would hop into the limo and ask the driver to take the shortest route to the gallows (probably suspecting that he would have to pay for the gas).
Finally, as the farmer was led up to the hanging platform, he would lean over to the executioner and ask: “I won’t have to make a speech, will I?” Public speaking was the number one fear even in those days.
One day, a young robin, who’s name was… Robin, heard about a shooting contest at the Nottingham fair. He asked his mother if he could go.
“Alright, dear,” his mother said, “but you better wear your hood in case it rains.”
“Oh, gee, Ma,” Robin said, “that hood is so dorky, everyone’s gonna laugh themselves silly if they see me in it.”
“Well, I don’t like the idea of you catching cold from the rain.” She looked uneasily at the sky. It hadn’t rained in five months, and the sky looked anything but cloudy. “It looks like it might rain. Fine, if you don’t like the look of your hood, then you can swing over to Harry’s place and ask if you can borrow his invisibility cloak.”
“But Harry has gone to Warthog’s School of Stitch-craft and Embroidery.”
“Really? He’ll enjoy it up there, just so long as he doesn’t get on the wrong side of professor Ape. Anyway, you better get going if you want to reach the fair in time.”
Robin jumped out of his nest and flew straight off towards the fair, pausing only to “accidentally” drop his ugly hood. Unfortunately, the hood fell on the head of one of the foresters who was walking along the path and felled him like a log—a very unsteady log that has spent the last few centuries rotting.
“Oh, darn,” said Robin. (His mother appeared seemingly from nowhere and shoved a bar of soap up his beak.) “Ulg, blah…blalla. Now I’ve killed a man and must live forever as an outlaw.”
Almost instantly, Robin found himself aiming a rifle at a big target. “Omigosh!” he said. “How did I get here?”
“I pressed the fast-forward button,” said the kid on the other side of the TV screen. “I want to see if you can really split a bullet in two.”
“Oh,” said Robin. He figured that the sooner he got done with this “stealing from the rich and giving to the poor” job, the sooner he could have lunch. He squeezed the trigger and flew only about twenty yards back. (He was one of those robins who eats worms all day and gets really fat.) The bullet zoomed, as if in slow motion, towards the target. The same high power electric magnet that had pulled the sheriff’s bullet to the bull’s-eye got hold of Robin’s, and it slammed into the target.
Then it bounced backwards. The sheriff had finally found his remote control and set the magnet to repulse Robin’s bullet. Unfortunately, he set the power a little too high, and the bullet flew straight at him, and he had to spend the next few hundred years waiting for them to build the first emergency hospital.
At that moment, an old beggar jumped forward and pulled off his tattered robe (causing some mothers to shriek in alarm and cover their children’s eyes). “I am the king, I have returned,” the man shouted. Then, realizing he was naked down to his long underwear, he grabbed the nearest thing he could find (a hospital gown) and pulled it over his head. But, before he could declare all taxes abolished (which he probably wouldn’t have done anyway), a middle-aged man in a pinstripe suit and wearing a monocle walked up.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Sad case, the poor man’s gone delusional.” He grabbed the “king’s” arm and pulled him away.
“But I really am the king. I’m not your patient!”
“Yes, yes. We’ll just go back to my office and you can tell me all about it.” They walked off.
“Oh, Robin,” Maid Marian cried, throwing herself on him and nearly squushing the poor little bird. “I was so worried about you. Do you have something you want to ask me?”
“Yes,” Robin squeaked, barely able to breath under Marian’s weight.
“What, my love?”
“Marian, will you… would you—cough—will you get off of me, I can’t breath.”
Marian looked surprised, but she sat up and took the little robin in her hands. “Is there anything else you want to ask me?” she said, on the verge of tears.
“No,” said Robin, “not that I can think of, why?”
Marian screamed and threw Robin away like a hot potato, and he was about as big. “I knew I should have listened to my mother!” she cried, and then ran off to find some handsome knight.
Robin, meanwhile, was flying through the air thinking, Wow! That girl has a powerful right arm. Maybe the baseball team should recruit her as a pitcher. Then Robin landed in his own nest, safe at last from the dangers of everyday life in the real middle ages, (not that crazy stuff that gets in the history books).
Then his mother said, “Guess what I found for you at the store—a beautiful pink hood!”