Death of Robin Hood by Bertha E. Bush

Now the manner of Robin Hood's death was in this wise. He had grown to be an old man, and he became ill of a fever.

"I will go to my cousin, the prioress of Kirklees, for she hath much knowledge of healing," he said. "I will ask her to bleed me that I may become well."

In those days the women had more knowledge of healing than any others, for it was the duty of every mother and daughter to learn as much as she could about it that she might know what to do if her husband or her son were wounded. This cousin of Robin Hood's was greatly indebted to him, for he had got her her good place as prioress. But she loved one of his enemies, and she dealt treacherously with him.

She opened a vein in his arm, but she did not close it up again. Then she left him alone in a high room at the very top of the priory to bleed to death. All day long he bled till he was so weak that he could hardly move. But at evening he managed to lift his bugle to his lips and blow. The blast was but feeble, but Little John heard it, for, though the prioress refused to let him in with Robin Hood, he had lingered as close to his dear master as he could get, all day long.

The prioress locked the great entry door so that he might not come in, and he seized a huge stone mortar that three men could not lift ordinarily and hurled it against the door, crashing it in. Then he dashed up the winding stairs and none could stay him until he reached the room under the eaves where his master lay. But he saw at a glance that Robin Hood was dying.

"Master," he cried, "I will burn the priory down over the heads of these vile nuns whose mistress has done you such dreadful treachery."

"No, no," said Robin Hood, with a smile that was feeble but was wondrous sweet. "I have never hurt a woman in my life nor allowed my followers to do it. I could not allow such a thing now."

And with almost his last breath he made Little John promise to do no injury to the treacherous nun who had killed him.