illustration of Robin Hood standing in the forest with his bow in one hand

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

by Howard Pyle

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Who told Robin Hood about the archery contest in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood?

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In chapter 1, Pyle explains that when Robin was a young man of eighteen years, "the Sheriff of Nottingham proclaimed a shooting match and offered a prize of a butt of ale." Robin is then said to have pondered whether or not to enter the match before deciding that the ale was too tempting a prize to turn down. He then made his way through Sherwood Forest to Nottingham for the contest.

The implication is that nobody directly tells Robin about the archery contest. He learns about it himself from the Sheriff's proclamation. In medieval times, proclamations like this might have been communicated to the people in a number of ways. They might have been communicated orally at particular places in towns called bretèches, or they might simply have been passed along by word of mouth. Robin could have heard about the archery contest in either of these ways.

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