The story of Robin Hood, the most popular English folk hero of all times, has reached every corner of the Earth. There are many versions of this well-known tale which is about 600 years old. Everybody knows Robin’s friends (Little John, Brother Tuck, Will Scarlet), and the famous Sherwood Forest — Robin Hood’s home and the place where many of his adventures took place. In other countries there are similar stories, such as William Tell in Switzerland, El Cid in Spain or Janosik in Poland, but only Robin Hood has become an ‘international’ hero.
Unfortunately, there is almost no evidence that Robin Hood really existed. Thirteenth-century ballads, fourteenth-century chronicles, a sixteenth-century History of Great Britain, all talk about Robin Hood. However, none of them tells us about the sources they used. In the 1800s and 1900s, historians found two Robin Hoods who lived in the fourteenth century. One of them was even King Edward II’s servant. Later on, other historians found several different Hoods living in different parts of England – Robin was a popular Christian name and Hood was a fairly common surname. It seems that by 1337, the story of Robin Hood was well established. Most probably, he lived around the year 1200.
Today, the legend of Robin Hood has turned Nottinghamshire into a large tourist attraction. In the centre of Nottingham there is Nottingham Castle. Parts of it still recall the time of Robin Hood. Sherwood Forest has an excellent visitor’s centre with an attractive display and shop, and some very pleasant walks in the nearby forest. Edwinstowe church, in which, according to tradition, Robin Hood and Lady Marion were married, is one of the visitors’ favourite sites.
Task 1 Read the previous text and decide whether the statements below are true (T) or false (F).
1. The story of Robin Hood is especially popular in Switzerland, Spain and Poland.
2. Sherwood Forest is 600 years old.
3. Ballads and chronicles do not make us sure that Robin Hood was a real person
4. Robin Hood was King Edward II’s knight.
5. You can watch a programme about Robin Hood’s life in the visitors’ centre.
6. One of the places most often visited in Nottingham is Edwinstone church.
Task 2 Read the text again and decide which answer is correct, a, b or c.
1. William Tell, El Cid and Janosik are
a) international heroes
b) Robin Hood’s followers
c) people’s heroes
2. It is probable that Robin Hood lived
a) in the thirteenth century
b) in the fourteenth century
c) in the sixteenth century
3. Sherwood Forest is
a) the place where Robin Hood lived
b) the oldest forest in Nottingham
с) Robin Hood’s favourite place for walks
4. Edwinstowe is the place where
a) Robin Hood and Lady Marion first kissed
b) Robin Hood and Lady Marion first met
c) Robin Hood and Lady Marion started a new life