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Penguin: Robin Hood And The Pedlar

02 Jul 00 - 02:16 AM (#250476)
Subject: Penguin: Robin Hood And The Pedlar
From: Alan of Australia

From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of Robin Hood And The Pedlar (Child #132) can be found here.


It's of a pedlar, pedlar bold
A pedlar bold there chanced to be.
He took his pack all on his back,
And merrily trudged o'er the lea.

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.

'O pedlar, pedlar, what's in thy pack?
Come speedily and tell to me.'
'I've several suits of the gay green cloth,
And silken bowstrings by two and three.'

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

'Oh no, oh no,' says the pedlar bold,
'Oh no, oh no, that never can be,
For there's never a man from fair Nottingham
Can take one half my pack from me.'

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 go with thee.'

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

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

'Go you try, master,' says Little John,
'And go you try most speedily,
For by my body,' says Little John,
'I'm sure this night you will know me.'

Then 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.

'Oh pedlar, pedlar, what is thy name?
Come speedily and tell to me.'
'Well now, my name I never will tell
Till both your names you have told me.'

'The one of us is bold Robin Hood,
And the other is Little John so free.'
'Now,' says the pedlar, 'it lays to my good will
Whether my name I choose to tell thee.

'I'm Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
And travelled far beyond the sea.
For killing a man in my father's land,
Far from my country I was forced to flee.'

'If you're Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
And travelled far beyond the sea,
'You are my mother's own sister's son,
What nearer cousins can we be?'

They sheathed their swords with friendly words,
So merrily they did agree.
They went to a tavern and there they dined,
And cracked bottles most merrily.

Sung by Mr Verrall, Horsham, Sussex (R.V.W. 1906)

Click here and here for other versions.

Previous song: The Red Herring.
Next song:
Rounding The Horn.


21 Jan 05 - 03:32 AM (#1384031)
Subject: RE: Penguin: Robin Hood And The Pedlar
From: Joe Offer

Here are the notes from Penguin:
    Robin Hood and the Pedlar (FSJ II 156)
    The text given here is very slightly amended from that collected by Lucy Broadwood from Mr Burstow of Horsham, Sussex. The song of Robin Hood's encounter with the battling pedlar was printed on broadsides by Such and Catnach in the nineteenth century, in much the same version as Mr. Burstow sang it. In earlier forms of this ballad (as in Child 128) the outlaw's redoubtable antagonist is not a pedlar but a young gentleman dressed in silk, with stockings of shining scarlet, named Young Gamwell. 'Gamwell' and 'Gamble Gold' are thought to be corruptions of Gamelyn, and the story may be a come-down fragment of the manuscript Tale of Gamelyn (c. 1340). Other versions are printed from Essex (FSJ II 155) and Yorkshire (FSJ V 94).

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry:

Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood, The [Child 132]

DESCRIPTION: Robin Hood and Little John meet a pedlar. Neither Robin nor John can out-wrestle the pedlar. They exchange names, and the pedlar (Gamble Gold, a murderer) proves to be Robin's cousin. They celebrate the reunion in a tavern
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: Robinhood fight return robbery family outlaw
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South,North),Scotland(Aber)) US(NE) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Child 132, "The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood" (1 text)
Bronson 132, "The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood" (14 versions+ 2 in addenda)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 457-461, "The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood" (1 songster text plus extensive notes)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 217-218, "Bold Robing Hood" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #14}
Flanders/Olney, pp. 67-69, "Bold Robin Hood and the Pedlar" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3}
Creighton/Senior, pp. 67-69, "The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #7}
Leach, pp. 383-385, "The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood" (1 text)
Niles 46, "The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood" (1 text, 1 tune)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 88, "Robin Hood and the Pedlar" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #5, emended}

Roud #333
cf. "Jock the Leg and the Merry Merchant" [Child 282] (plot)
cf. "Robin Hood Newly Revived" [Child 128] (theme)
The Bold Peddler
Notes: For background on the Robin Hood legend, see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117].
Fully half the Robin Hood ballads in the Child collection (numbers (121 -- the earliest and most basic example of the type), 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 130, 131, 132, (133), (134), (135), (136), (137), (150)) share all or part of the theme of a stranger meeting and defeating Robin, and being invited to join his band. Most of these are late, but it makes one wonder if Robin ever won a battle.
Child considered this a variation of "Robin Hood Newly Revived," but Bronson argues that this is not so. - RBW
File: C132

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

21 Jan 05 - 04:45 AM (#1384063)
Subject: RE: Penguin: Robin Hood And The Pedlar
From: Steve Parkes

And I remember we found a reference to "Gamwell Bold", but it was thirty-odd years back, and I've no idea where. There are plenty of GGs on the internet, but no GBs. It seems Gamwell or Gamewell was the real nae of Will Scarlet.


21 Jan 05 - 09:15 PM (#1384855)
Subject: RE: Penguin: Robin Hood And The Pedlar
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts

Gamwell was the name of a noble family in the Nottinghamshire area, possibly the Earls of Mansfield. The older RH stories say that RH was the son of a daughter of that family and was raised in Warwickshire (at Locksley, perhaps). He spent one Christmas in Nottinghamshire with his mother's family, where he defeated numbers of blokes his own age in demonstartaions of skill, sport etc, until he came across a page-boy called Little John, a giantic youth. Eventually, and after a hard time, RH beat LJ as well. RH's uncle Gamwell asked him what reward he would like and RH claimed LJ as a gift.
Later, when RH & LJ were outlawing about the forest, they ran across the famous pedlar. The pedlar was, in fact, a bloke called Gamwell, a cousin of RH, who had been exiled from England 'for killing a man on my father's land' (exiled instead of hanged because he was of Gamwell blood, no doubt). Returning to Britain illegally, he heard that cousin RH had set up as an outlaw and went to look for him. Once he and RH had established their relationship he was permitted to join the gang.
RH, in the older tales, did not wear Lincoln Green, but scarlet. The rest of the gang wore green. Because of his family relationship with RH, Gamwell the 'pedlar' was also permitted to wear scarlet, and became known as 'Will Scarlet'.

21 Jan 05 - 09:42 PM (#1384867)
Subject: RE: Penguin: Robin Hood And The Pedlar
From: Lighter

Steeleye did a wonderful rock adaptation of this song on "All Round My Hat" (1977). But you all knew that.