Here is my modest collection of Robin Hood books and a record with the album title of 'A Tapestry of Music for Robin Hood & his King' by Early Music group St. George's Canzona. The two books on the left are both editions of 'The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood' by Howard Pyle, a delightful book with fine illustrations, for Howard Pyle was one of the greatest illustrators of all time, and wrote great storybooks too; I highly recommend it, it's one of my favourite books. This is part of the wonderful preface to that story:
'You who so plod amid serious things that you feel it shame to give yourself up even for a few short moments to mirth and joyousness in the land of Fancy; you who think that life hath nought to do with innocent laughter that can harm no one; these pages are not for you. Clap to the leaves and go no farther than this, for I tell you plainly that if you go farther you will be scandalized by seeing good, sober folks of real history so frisk and caper in gay colours and motley, that you would not know them but for the names tagged to them...there are a whole host of knights, priests, nobles, burghers, yeomen, pages, ladies, lasses, landlords, beggars, pedlars, and what not, all living the merriest of merry lives, and all bound by nothing but a few odd strands of certain old ballads...which draw these jocund fellows here and there, singing as they go.'
Most of us strongly disapprove of robbery and law breaking, yet these old tales and ballads continue to be loved and are eternally popular; most everyone loves Robin Hood! We tend to think that the Sheriff of Nottingham was a bad fellow who deserved what he got, and the same goes for those other naughty types who also received the same treatment. The struggle between liberty and the oppression of the peasants in these tales grip people, and the adventures of those hearty, robust men living hearty robust lives in the forest, nearly always being clever enough to be a step ahead of the tyrants, and we mustn't forget the humour, the jolly good times they have and the tricks they heartily laughed at; the manly comradeship the characters enjoyed. There are many appealing elements in these tales, whatever version you encounter (though I imagine one should probably steer clear of any new modern retellings).
Since the above photo was taken, some time ago, three more Robin Hood books were later added to the collection (though I haven't read these yet):
For your enjoyment, here is a selection of good recordings of Robin Hood-themed songs:
'Robin Hood and the Tanner' by St. George's Canzona:
'Gamble Gold/Robin Hood' by Steeleye Span:
'Robin Hood and the Pedlar' by Barry Dransfield:
'Robin Hood & the Bold Pedlar' by The Owl Service: