“The King's Disguise, and Friendship with Robin Hood”


King Richard, impressed by Robin's reputation, seeks him. Disguised as an abbot who is the king's messenger, he hears Robin's declarations of loyalty to king and of spite to clergy. Well treated for the king's sake, he reveals himself and pardons Robin.


Robin Hood is often portrayed as a loyal servant of King Richard I against his vile brother John. However, it should be noted that Richard was a rotten king (especially for England, where he spent only six months of his ten year reign -- and used those six months solely to gather money). Richard was rash, brutal, and indecisive -- and John never really rebelled against him; he merely succeeded him. In other words, the events in this ballad are historically almost impossible.

For background on the Robin Hood legend, see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117]. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1189-1199 - Reign of King Richard I

Cross references


  1. Child 151, "The King's Disguise, and Friendship with Robin Hood" (1 text)
  2. Roud #3993
  3. BI, C151


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1777