The next day, the sheriff arrived at Lord Fitzwalter's house with twenty horsemen. Lord Fitzwalter watched them through a window. He was not happy.
‘He wants to talk about yesterday's fight,’ he said to his daughter, ‘and you nearly fought too! Please go to your room. I will speak to him.’
‘I do not want to speak to the sheriff, father,’ said Marian, ‘but I willlisten behind the door!’
Marian left the room, and a minute later, the sheriff walked in.
‘My Lord Sheriff,’ began Lord Fitzwalter, ‘I am sorry about the fight yesterday, but your men…’
‘No, no, I do not want to talk about that,’ said the sheriff. He put his hand on Lord Fitzwalter's arm and smiled. ‘I want to speak to you about your daughter, the Lady Marian.’
‘Ah, Marian,’ said LordFitzwalter unhappily. ‘Marian is a good girl but she does not always listen to me. Perhaps one day a husband will...’
‘Ah yes!’ said the sheriff and smiled. ‘Well, I am looking for a wife, and I would like to marry your daughter. I like a strong woman - and Marian is also very beautiful. I will be a good husband. I have lands, money - and important friends.’
‘My Lord, what can I say?’ said Marian'sfather. He was now very unhappy. Marian wanted to marry Robin and no other man - he knew that. ‘You are very kind. I will talk to Marian but...’
‘I will come back tomorrow,’ said the sheriff. ‘Remember -Prince John is my very good friend. He can be your friend too. Think carefully!’
That evening, Marian and her father talked for a long time about Robin, the sheriff and Prince John.
‘Marian,why don't you marry the sheriff?’ said her father. ‘He is rich and important, and he is a friend of Prince John. I am afraid of the prince. Please marry the sheriff, and forget Robin Fitzooth.’
Marian took her father's hand. ‘Father, I am sorry to bring you so many problems. I will not marry the sheriff, but he will be angry with me, not you. Listen. Tomorrow I will leave the house very early andstay with my uncle. The sheriff will come late in the morning. Tell your men to look for me. Look in every room. Be very angry. Then the sheriff will think that you know nothing!’
‘You are right, Marian,’ said her father. ‘You will have to marry the sheriff or leave here. Go then to my brother's house. But who will go with you?’
‘Good Friar Tuck is staying here tonight,’ answered Marian. ‘Hewill help me.’
‘That fat churchman ?’ said her father. ‘He is a strange friar. He fights too well for a churchman. People say that the Abbot of St Mary's hates him. The friar had to leave the abbey.’
‘Friar Tuck does not like the abbot because the abbot takes a lot of money from the villagers,’ answered Marian. ‘Friar Tuck says that the church has to help poor people.’
‘Mm,’ said her father.!‘The abbot does live very well. He is a greedy man. Friar Tuck is greedy too - he eats more than ten men! But he is a brave man and very strong. Yes, take Friar Tuck with you.’
Chapter 10 Marian Goes to Sherwood Forest
Very early next morning, Marian put on boy's clothes and a boy's hat and woke up Friar Tuck. The friar took his staff and Marian took her bow and arrows. Then they left the houseand walked on the Great North Road through the forest.
After some hours, the friar suddenly left the road and sat down under a tree.
‘Please let's stop, My Lady,’ he said. ‘We had no breakfast and I am very hungry!’
‘I am sorry, Friar Tuck,’ she said, ‘You are right, we will eat now. Stay here. I will take your staff and my bow and arrow, and catch some animals. "We can cook themhere in the forest.’
Marian left the friar and moved quietly between the forest trees. She saw a deer. Very quietly, she took out an arrow and put it to her bow.
‘Stop there, boy!’ said a man behind her. The man spoke very loudly. The deer jumped at the noise and ran away into the trees. Marian was very angry. She turned to the speaker but he wore a big hood. She couldn't see his face....