The diary of Marian Fitzwalter
I'm so excited that I can't write. Let me start from the very beginning. It с J was a beautiful autumn day and the sun was shining brightly. We got up early and left for Nottingham.
People had already started to gather around the archery butts. All the local knights, barons and their wives and families had come with their servants, pages and even their dogs. Some of them had to stand, but some had good seats. We had very good seats too. Lady Isabel always gets the best of everything: she is a very rich landowner and the sister of our Lord Bishop.
Then the contest began. It took place on a big field. At one end of the field there were targets for the archers. Each target had four rings: white in the middle (the bull's eye), then red, then black and yellow on the out side.
At the opposite end of the field stood the archers. They all tried to shoot their arrows into the middle. If someone missed the target, he had to leave.
All round the field people were watching. They cheered and shouted and groaned. There were some really good archers, and the best of them all was a tall young man in simple red clothes. He was standing very close (близко) to me, but I couldn't see his face, because he had covered it with a red hood.
I looked at the Sheriff. He was looking around nervously. "So Robin Hood isn't here," I thought, "Good for him and for us."
The contest was coming to an end. The crowd was bubbling with excitement. Now there were only two archers on the field: Gilbert the Handsome and the man in red. Every time Gilbert took a shot, he hit (попадать) the bull's eye. The man in red did the same thing. The Sheriffs servants moved the targets further away from the contestants. The man in red hit the target, and Gilbert missed (промахнулся). He missed for the first time in the contest, but rules were rules. The man in red had won and the crowd cheered loudly.
The winner walked towards the Sheriff. When he came closer he looked at me, lifted his hood and gave me a smile. God! I recognized the smile and the man. It was the man from Sherwood Forest. He came closer and I could hear his whisper: "Your eyes are shining like (как) stars. I haven't forgotten." My cheeks blushed. I hope Lady Isabel didn't hear.
The Sheriff was angry as (когда) he gave the prize to the stranger. "Please tell us your name and lift your hood, good man," he said through his teeth, but the man just bowed and didn't say a word. Then the Sheriff stood up, came to the man and took his hood off. "Robin Hood!" somebody in the crowd cried. "Arrest him! It's Robin Hood," the Sheriff shouted.
Suddenly something strange happened. One of the knights who was sitting next to the Sheriff started to shout: "Carry the winner! Carry the winner!"
Everybody who had been watching the contest ran towards Robin Hood and lifted him in the air before the Sheriff's men could catch him. The whole place was in a big mess. Women were crying, men were shouting and arrows were flying everywhere. Robin hadn't come alone. All his Merry Men had come with him. One of them who wore a knight's clothes had already jumped on his horse and had ridden to the town gates. The others formed a circle around Robin Hood, and together they were fighting their way out of town.
Ten minutes later everything was quiet. It was clear to the Sheriff that Robin Hood had escaped again.
There's a letter from home. I have to go back home as soon as possible. What has happened?
I've been listening to a conversation between Lady Isabel and her daughter. I hid behind the heavy curtains, and they couldn't see me. They were talking about somebody's marriage. Oh, no! It's my marriage that they were discussing.
Guy of Gisbourne wants to marry me. He has already spoken to Father and Father has agreed. How awful! Lady Isabel doesn't understand why, but Guy is in love with me and wants to marry me by Christmas Day. Isabel's boring daughter, Agnes, thinks that I am very lucky! I don't feel lucky at all' And if my father has agreed to sell me to this horrible Guy Gisbourne, I'll run away. I won't be his wife. Never in a million years. I'll go to Sherwood Forest and become an outlaw... like Robin Hood!
I'm packing my things. I've thought of everything. I'll escape on the way home. Lady Isabel won't send a lot of servants with me. I just hope that I'll find Robin Hood quickly. The forest is big and if I get lost there..., I don't want to think about it. I must hope for the best. That's all.
Mу plan didn't work quite as well as I had hoped. We reached the forest in the afternoon. My servants were tired and sleepy, and I was playing with the ring on the chain and dreaming about my future life in the forest Suddenly we all saw a knight on the road. There were about twenty men with him. It was Sir Rodger de Longchamp, my family's worst enemy. My -rave servants rode forward and prepared to defend me. But what could the poor villagers do against the swords of de Longchamp's men? I turned my horse round and tried to ride away. It didn't help.
Very soon de Longchamp rode up to me and took my horse by its bridle. But suddenly there came a sound like a bee buzzing and Sir Rodger de Longchamp groaned and fell off his horse. A long arrow was sticking out of his eye. When his men saw it, they ran away in panic, but the long arrows round them everywhere.
The next moment I saw Robin Hood. As usual, he was smiling. "You have saved me, but now you're in real trouble. The Longchamp family is rich and powerful. They will find you," I said to him. "I'm not afraid," he answered. I killed him because he attacked you, and you're my friend, aren't you?"
"I have heard that you hate all the Normans, so how can we be friends?" I asked. His face was sad for a moment: "I don't hate Normans. I hate cruelty and greed in people. I take money from the rich and give it to the poor. That's all I do."
I liked these words. Only a very brave and kind man could say them.
After that Robin invited me to dinner.
That was the most wonderful dinner of my life. We went into the heart of the forest and under a big oak tree Robin Hood and his merry men ate and sang, and danced and laughed. Robin introduced some of his friends to me. "Here is Friar Tuck. And there is no braver or merrier man than our good friar," he said and pointed to a fat monk with kind blue eyes.
"And here is Little John, the strongest man in the forest and my best friend." A huge man with arms as thick as trees gave me a wink (подмигнул). "Don't forget handsome Allan a Dale, our minstrel whose songs fill us with love and joy," Little John said to Robin and laughed.
The dinner came to an end sooner than I wanted. In the morning Robin and his merry men followed me to my father's castle. I hadn't said anything about my plans to be an outlaw and live in the forest. Robin could laugh at me, he could say No.
Father was very happy to see me safe. I told him all about my adventure in the forest. I also told him that Guy of Gisbourne was a horrible, cruel man. Father listened but didn't say anything. What will happen to me? Will I ever see Robin again? I think... I'm in love with him.
Robin and I have just got married at Edwinstowe church! It was a secret wedding, because Father doesn't know yet, but Mother came and was very happy for me. Now I'm going to live in Sherwood Forest with Robin and his friends. I'll never have any land, I'll have to forget about nice dresses and warm beds, but I won't miss that. I'll be with the man who I love. Mother says that the ring has brought me luck. I'm not sure...