Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar and Robine Hood & Fryer Tucke (17th century)

Dublin Core


Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar and Robine Hood & Fryer Tucke (17th century)


But how many merry monthes be in the yeere? There are thirteen, I say; The midsummer moone is the merryest of all, Next to the merry month of May. In May, when mayds beene fast weepand, Young men their hands done wringe, ...Over may noe man for villanie:' 'I'le never eate nor drinke,' Robin Hood sa[id], 'Till I that cutted friar see.'

He builded his men in a brake of fearne, A litle from that nunery; Sayes, If you heare my litle horne blow, Then looke you come to me. When Robin came to Fontaines Abey, Wheras that fryer lay, He was ware of the fryer where he stood, And to him thus can he say. A payre of blacke breeches the yeoman had on, His coppe all shone of steele, A fayre sword and a broad buckeler Beseemed him very weell. 'I am a wet weary man,' said Robin Hood, 'Good fellow, as thou may see; Wilt beare [me] over this wild water, Ffor sweete Saint Charity?' The fryer bethought him of a good deed; He had done none of long before; He hent up Robin Hood on his backe, And over he did him beare.

But when he came over that wild water, A long sword there he drew: 'Beare me backe againe, bold outlawe, Or of this thou shalt have enoughe.' Then Robin Hood hent the fryar on his back, And neither sayd good nor ill; Till he came ore that wild water, The yeoman he walked still. Then Robin Hood wett his fayre greene hoze, A span aboue his knee; S[ay]s, Beare me ore againe, thou cutted f[ryer] [...] good bowmen [C]ame raking all on a rowe. 'I beshrew thy head,' said the cutted ffriar, 'Thou thinkes I shall be shente; I thought thou had but a man or two, And thou hast [a] whole conuent. 'I lett thee haue a blast on thy horne, Now giue me leaue to whistle another; I cold not bidd thee noe better play And thou wert my owne borne brother.' 'Now fute on, fute on, thou cutted fryar, I pray God thou neere be still; It is not the futing in a fryers fist That can doe me any ill.' The fryar sett his neave to his mouth, A loud blast he did blow; Then halfe a hundred good bandoggs Came raking all on a rowe. [...] 'Euery dogg to a man,' said the cutted fryar, 'And I my selfe to Robin Hood.'

'Over God's forbott,' said Robin Hood, 'That euer that soe shold bee; I had rather be mached with three of the tikes Ere I wold be matched on thee. 'But stay thy tikes, thou fryar,' he said, 'And freindshipp I'le haue with thee; But stay thy tikes, 'thou frayer,' he said, 'And saue good yeomanry.' The fryar he sett his neave to his mouth, A lowd blast he did blow; The doggs the coucht downe euery one, They couched downe on a rowe. 'What is thy will, thou yeoman?' he said, 'Haue done and tell it me;' 'If that thou will goe to merry greenwood,...


After hearing about a curtail friar from Will Scadock, Robin sets out to meet this man he’s heard about. After finding friar Tuck on the side of a river, Robin forces him to carry him over the river. Halfway across, the friar tosses Robin off of his back and draws his longsword. Robin blows his horn and the merry men come to his aid, Friar Tuck whistles and a pack of dogs appears. Before fighting can be escalated, Robin extends an offer of friendship to the Friar, who accepts. This ballad is adapted in the film as one of the most iconic scenes in The Adventures of Robin Hood. While the film stays true to the ballad for the most part, its depiction in the film led to this image becoming an integral part of Robin Hood in the imaginations of many, including some of his signature character traits, such as his competitive stride, as also seen in his scenes with Little John and the archery competition.

A bit of his kinder side shines through as well, as he is willing to extend a position in the group for the friar to make amends and thereby gain a new friend. The depiction of a “yeoman,” and a clergyman coming to terms as his equals, also subverts medieval social hierarchies, and seeks to highlight a common brotherhood shared between all characters seen both in the film and in the ballad.





17th century


Sotiris Georgakopoulos





Primary Source Text


Anonymous, “Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar and Robine Hood & Fryer Tucke (17th century),” Medieval Hollywood, accessed April 19, 2024,

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