.Stephen R Lawhead - Hood
When looking back on my life, I can never remember a time when I did not know and love Robin Hood. Other girls were playing with My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch dolls and dreaming of being Cinderella. I wanted to be an outlaw, dressed in green, who had a knack for climbing trees and archery. My brother and I used to fight it out with home made bows (which were useless in reality, but in our imaginations, shot deadly and straight) as we raced around our garden, up the trees and into our camps.
I had a hard cover book for kiddies, with a very rugged looking Robin, with all the shadows in his face done in dark greens and blue, on the cover. (It is an image that I still remember today when looking at portraits that I want to paint.) I can't even tell you how many times I read that book. I have giggled through 'Men in Tights' and the Disney version. I bawled my eyes out over the BBC version. I enjoyed 'Prince of Thieves'. I even loved 'Robin of Sherwood' when I was loads younger (I got a book on it, not the tv series). But of all the tales, the Robin Hood that I love the most has
to be Lawhead's.
The character I love the most is Tuck, the friar with the less-than-friarly thoughts. I was hoping to find a different passage, but honestly, it has been so long since I read the books, that I am starting to wonder if perhaps the scene I am looking for is in one of the latter books (they are all good, so I am leaving the other two for later - to help fill up 100 posts)
" 'Stink? Stink, do I?' muttered the mendicant under his breath. He was a most fragrant friar, to be sure, but the day was sweltering, and sweat was honest reward for labours spent. 'Normans,' he grumbled, mopping his face, 'God rot them all!'
What a peculiar people they were: big, lumpy lunks with faces like horses and feet like boats. Vain and arrogant, untroubled by any notions so basic as tolerance, fairness, equality. Always wanting everything their own way, never giving in, they reckoned any disagreement as disloyal, dishonest, or deceitful, while judging their own actions, however outrageously unfair, as lawful God-given rights. Did the Ruler of heaven really intend for such a greedy, grasping, gluttonous race of knaves and rascals to supplant Good King Harold?
'Blessed Jesus,' he muttered, watching the last of the wagons recede into the distance, 'give the whole filthy lot flaming carbuncles to remind them how fortunate they are.'
Then chuckling to himself over the image of the entire occupying population hopping around clutching painfully swollen backsides, he moved on. Upon cresting the next hill, he saw a stream and a fording place where the road met the valley. Several of the carts had paused to allow the animals to drink. 'God be praised!' he cried and hurried to join them. Perhaps they would take pity on him yet.
Arriving at the ford, he called a polite greeting, but the merchants roundly ignored him, so he walked a little way upstream until he came to a shady place, where, drawing his long brown robe between his legs, he tucked the ends into his belt and waded out into the stream. 'Ahhh,' he sighed, luxuriating in the cool water, 'a very blessing on a hot summer day. Thank you, Jesus. Much obliged.'"
Chapter 34 p.314-315
I will admit that this is not Tuck's most memorable scene, but it still captures enough about his character to give one a chuckle. He was definitely a good match for a bunch of outlaws.
And I have to appreciate Lawhead's use of alliteration in the description of the Normans. It really does capture a guttural dislike for them.