What are some rumors of what Jackaroo did in the book Jackaroo?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jackaroo is a mythical, Robin-Hood-like character, about whom rumors and stories have circulated for generations among the simple people of the Kingdom.  When the story opens, Gwyn, the Innkeeper's Daughter, is standing in line with a group of other women in the Doling Room, waiting for her share of provisions which are given out to sustain the people until the hard times might be over.  Hunger and poverty are rampant, and as the women wait, they share rumors about the infamous Jackaroo. 

One woman starts the conversation about the bandit by saying there is "one to be hung, as I hear, a young man - a highwayman, they say, with a way of taking the purses off of wealthy travelers".  The young man is rumored to be "young...and handsome...(with) hair dark as night...(or) gold as the sun", depending on whom one might want to believe.  The women wonder if the captured bandit might be Jackaroo, who "in (their) grandmother's mother's time...rode alone...and no sign of his booty about him", stealing from the rich so that he could give to the poor.  As they remember it, those were "bad times, needy times", just like the present.  Many highwaymen were caught and hung, "but never him".

As the wait grows longer, the women share more reminiscences of things Jackaroo has been rumored to have done.  They laugh at themselves for the ludicrousness of their tales, "as if there ever were a man could do such things...and never grow any older, not in the hundred years".  Yet still they share the rumors, "(spinning) the room round with stories of disbelief...(because) they must believe, or maybe merely hope...there (is) so little else in their lives to hope for (Chapter 1).

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