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1001 Stories Collection

Robin Hood and the Silver Arrow

1001 The Golden Arrow Veeterzy
Added on 06th August 2020

Oral tradition English legend

UK and Ireland Action and adventure Historical Myths and legends

Robin Hood cannot resist the lure of an archery competition under the nose of arch enemy the Sheriff of Nottingham.


Robin Hood is famous for his skill at archery. Hearing that his arch enemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham has offered a silver arrow as a prize in an archery competition, Robin is determined to win it. He and a group of his merry men travel to the fair in disguise to shoot for the prize.

Why we chose it

Robin Hood is one of the great British folk heroes and the story of the shooting for the silver arrow is one of the best known legends.

Where it came from

Robin Hood is a legendary English hero, an outlaw who lives in Sherwood Forest with his loyal band of merry men. He is most well-known for robbing the rich to give to the poor. Some English ballads recounting his exploits date as far back as the 14th century. These early medieval ballads focus on Robin as a man of the common people, whereas later iterations of the legend positioned him as a fallen nobleman and gave him a noble companion, Maid Marian. The story of Robin shooting for a silver arrow has been told since at least the 15th century where it is found in an early ballad.

Where it went next

The silver arrow is found in many of the later re-tellings of the Robin Hood legends and in most of the modern books and films. It is a story that demonstrates Robin’s daring and sense of adventure – a trait which in some stories leads him into trouble although in this one he triumphs. There are variations in the telling but the elements of competition that cannot be resisted and disguise as a means to an end are common to all.

Associated stories

There are many legends of Robin Hood and there have been many re-tellings in books and on television and in film.

Roger Lancelyn Green and Rosemary Sutcliffe both published collections of the legends of Robin Hood. In Michael Morpurgo’s Robin of Sherwood, illustrated by Michael Foreman, a boy travels back in time after finding a skull at the base of a tree following a great storm to find himself in Sherwood Forest.

Robin Hood has inspired numerous film and television makers. An arrow loosed from a bow hitting a tree was the iconic opening image of the 1950s television series. The more recent series (2006) starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin and Richard Armitage as Guy of Guisbourne was a less traditional version of the legends and was hugely popular. There have been very many films of the legends including, Robin and Marian (1976) a romance set at the end of their lives with Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991), starring Kevin Costner which included the chart topping song Everything I Do by Bryan Adams.

Added on 06th August 2020

Oral tradition English legend

UK and Ireland Action and adventure Historical Myths and legends