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8. Little John and the Tanner of Blyth (continued)
"Ay, marry would I," quoth the Tanner, giving him another thwack with his staff.
"Stop!" roared Little John. "Help! Hold, I say! I yield me! I yield me, I say, good fellow!"
"Hast thou had enough?" asked the Tanner grimly, holding his staff aloft.
"Ay, marry, and more than enough."
"And thou dost own that I am the better man of the two?"
"Yea, truly, and a murrain seize thee!" said Little John, the first aloud and the last to his beard.
"Then thou mayst go thy ways; and thank thy patron saint that I am a merciful man," said the Tanner.
"A plague o' such mercy as thine!" said Little John, sitting up and feeling his ribs where the Tanner had cudgeled him. "I make my vow, my ribs feel as though every one of them were broken in twain. I tell thee, good fellow, I did think there was never a man in all Nottinghamshire could do to me what thou hast done this day."
"And so thought I, also," cried Robin Hood, bursting out of the thicket and shouting with laughter till the tears ran down his cheeks. "O man, man!" said he, as well as he could for his mirth, " 'a didst go over like a bottle knocked from a wall. I did see the whole merry bout, and never did I think to see thee yield thyself so, hand and foot, to any man in all merry England. I was seeking thee, to chide thee for leaving my bidding undone; but thou hast been paid all I owed thee, full measure, pressed down and overflowing, by this good fellow. Marry, 'a did reach out his arm full length while thou stood gaping at him, and, with a pretty rap, tumbled thee over as never have I seen one tumbled before." So spoke bold Robin, and all the time Little John sat upon the ground, looking as though he had sour curds in his mouth. "What may be thy name, good fellow?" said Robin, next, turning to the Tanner.
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