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Alan-a-Dale

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Alan-a-Dale
Alan-a-dale

Real Name

Alan a Dale

First Appearance

Unknown

Created by

English Folklore

Origin

Alan-a-Dale is a figure in the Robin Hood legend. According to the stories, he was a wandering minstrel who became a member of Robin Hood's band of outlaws, the "Merry Men."

He is a relatively late addition to the legend, first appearing in a seventeenth-century broadside ballad, "Robin Hood and Allen a Dale", and unlike many of the characters thus associated, managed to adhere to the legend. In this tale, Robin rescues Alan's sweetheart from an unwanted marriage to an old knight. They stop the bishop from proceeding with the ceremony, and Robin Hood, dressed in the bishop's robes, marries Alan to his bride. In other versions, it is Little John or Friar Tuck that performs the ceremony.

Another variant appears in which the hero is not Alan but Will Scarlet, but Alan has taken over the role completely.

Howard Pyle uses this tale in his book The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, but changes several details. He gives Alan's sweetheart the name Ellen, and introduces Friar Tuck into the story; Tuck is sought out specifically as the only priest who will perform the wedding in defiance of the bishop, and therefore, this tale is combined with that of Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar.

Public Domain Appearances

Ballads:

  • Robin Hood and Allen a Dale

Literature:

  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

Film:

  • Robin Hood (1912)
  • Robin Hood (1913)
  • Robin Hood (1922)

See Also

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