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Guy of Gisborne

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Sir Guy of Gisborne
Robin shoots with sir Guy by Louis Rhead 1912
Robin shoots with Guy.

Real Name

Guy of Gisborne

First Appearance

Unknown

Created by

English Folklore

Origin

Sir Guy of Gisborne is a character from the Robin Hood legends of English folklore. In The Ballad of Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, he hunts Robin for the Sheriff of Nottingham, but Robin kills him and cuts off his head. He is described so:

A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Of manye a man the bane;
And he was clad in his capull-hyde [capull-hyde = horse-hide]
Topp and tayll and mayne
‘I dwell by dale and downe,’ quoth hee,
‘And Robin to take I’me sworne;
And when I am callèd by my right name
I am Guy of good Gisborne.’

In the beginning of the ballad, Robin Hood and Little John walk through the forest. Robin speaks of a dream he had of two men fighting. They then spot a distant stranger leaning on a tree. Little John tells Robin to wait while he approaches the stranger. Robin takes umbrage as if accused of cowardice, and tells John he'd like to break his head. John marches off in a huff—and is promptly captured by the Sheriff of Nottingham and tied to a tree, preparatory to being hanged. Meanwhile, Robin goes up to the stranger, Guy of Gisborne, who is clad in a bizarre horsehide robe. Guy is a bounty hunter or hired killer seeking Robin Hood. They have a shooting contest, and Robin wins with an ease befitting a real Robin Hood. Robin identifies himself to the suspicious Guy, and the two fight. When Robin trips over a root, Guy stabs him; but Robin thrusts his sword and kills Guy. Somehow (it is not specified), Robin knows that Little John was captured. So, he dons the distinctive horsehide, cuts off Guy's head, sticks it on the tip of his bow and slashes the face, rendering it unrecognisable. He then blows Guy's horn to signal victory to the Sheriff. Disguised as Guy, and carrying what he passes off as Robin Hood's head, Robin goes to rescue Little John. He brushes past the Sheriff as if to kill John, but cuts him loose. John then takes a bow and shoots the Sheriff through the heart.

Public Domain Appearances

Ballads:

  • The Ballad of Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne

Literature:

  • Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  • Bold Robin Hood and His Outlaw Band: Their Famous Exploits in Sherwood Forest by Louis Rhead

Film:

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

See Also

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