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There chanced to be a Pedlar bold,
A Pedlar bold there chanced to be;
He put his pack all on his back,
And so merrily trudg-ed he o'er the lea.

By chance he met two troublesome men,
Two troublesome men they chanced to be,
The one of them was bold Robin Hood,
And the other was little John so free.

"O Pedlar, Pedlar, what is in thy pack?
Come speedily and tell to me."
"I've several suits of the gay green silks,
And silken bowstrings by two or three."

"If you have several suits of the gay green silk,
And silken bowstrings by two or three,
Then, by my body," cries little John,
"One half your pack shall belong to me."

"O nay, O nay," says the Pedlar bold,
"O nay, O nay, that can never be,
For there's never a man from fair Nottingham,
Can take one half my pack from me."

Then little John  he drew his sword,
The Pedlar by his pack did stand,
They fought until they both did sweat,
Till he cried, "Pedlar, pray hold your hand."

Then Robin Hood he was standing by,
And he did laugh most heartily,
Saying, "I could find a man of smaller scale,
Could thrash the Pedlar and also thee."

"Go you try, master", says little John,
"Go you try, master, most speedily,
For by my body," says little John,
"I am sure this night you will know me."

Then Robin Hood he drew his sword,
And the Pedlar by his pack did stand;
They fought till the blood in streams did flow,
Till he cried "Pedlar, pray hold your hand.

"O Pedlar, Pedlar, what is thy name?
Come speedily and tell to me."
"Come, my name I ne'er will tell,
Till both your names you have told to me."

"The one of us is Robin Hood,
And the other little John so free."
"Now," says the Pedlar, "it lays to my good will,
Whether my name I choose to tell to thee.

"I am Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
And travelled far beyond the sea,
For killing a man in my father's land,
And from my country was forced to flee."

"If you a Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
And travelled far beyond the sea,
You are my mother's own sister's son.
What nearer cousins can we be?"

They sheathed their swords, with friendly words,
So merrily they did agree,
They went to a tavern and there they dined,
And cracked bottles most merrily.




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Source: Broadwood, L, 1908, English Traditional Songs and Carols, London, Boosey

The words here given were, until quite lately, printed on broadsides by Such, and are much the same as those in Bell's Songs of the Peasantry (1857). Catnach, in the early part of the 19th century, printed a similar ballad. It is not to be found in Ritson's collection, or in the numerous Robin Hood Garlands. The story, however, is in its essentials the same as that of "Robin Hood and the Stranger "(see under "Robin Hood newly Revived" in Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads).  In the latter ballad "Gamble Gold" appears as "Gamwell," both names being a corruption of "Gamelyn," the hero of the manuscript Tale of Gamelyn, which Skeat believes to have been composed in 1340. There is also a ballad in the Sloane MS. (circa 1450), about "Robyn and Gandeleyn," which seems to refer to Robin Hood and Gamelyn.

Roud: 333 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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