Robin Hood: The Bold Pedlar

This lovely YouTube recording features the lyrics for the song along with the chords if you happen to want to play along!

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Robin Hood unit. Story source: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child (1882-1898).


The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood

THERE chanced to be a pedlar bold,
A pedlar bold he chanced to be;
He rolled his pack all on his back,
And he came tripping oer the lee.
Down a down a down a down,
Down a down a down.

By chance he met two troublesome blades,
Two troublesome blades they chanced to be;
The one of them was bold Robin Hood,
And the other was Little John so free.




'O pedlar, pedlar, what is in thy pack?
Come speedilie and tell to me.'
'I’ve several suits of the gay green silks,
And silken bow-strings two or three.'

'If you have several suits of the gay green silk,
And silken bow-strings two or three,
Then it’s by my body,' cries Little John,
'One half your pack shall belong to me.'

'O nay, o nay,' says the pedlar bold,
'O nay, o nay, 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 gang with thee.'

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

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

'Go you try, master,' says Little John,
'Go you try, master, most speedilie,
Or by my body,' says Little John,
'I am sure this night you will not 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!

Pedlar, pedlar, what is thy name?
Come speedilie and tell to me.'
'My name! My name I neer will tell,
Till both your names you have told to me.'

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

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

'If you are 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 then can we be?'

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



(400 words)








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