"And what of Peter the Ploughman? He was a good friend of mine."
"Alack, Peter the Ploughman hath been hanged and his wife and little ones turned out of their home to beg."
The father of young Robin Hood with his little son at his side, had met a man from his old home and was eagerly questioning him about the welfare of his old neighbors. But much of the news was sad, for the times were evil in England. The Normans had conquered the country and were the lords and officials in the land, and they cruelly oppressed the common people, who were Saxons. The father said not a word although his face grew very sad, but the boy beside him burst out indignantly.
"But why should such a thing be done? Peter the Ploughman was one of the best men I ever knew and his wife was as good and kind as an angel. Why should such a dreadful thing be done to them?"
"Because he shot deer in the king's forest. But indeed he had an excuse for breaking the law if ever a man did. His crops had been destroyed by the huntsmen riding through them. The tax collector had taken all that he had, and his children were crying for hunger. He shot the deer that they might have food to eat; but the sheriff caught him and hung him for it. As to the reason why his wife was turned out from her home with her orphan children, the abbot wanted that bit of ground for an extension to his garden, so out the poor folks must go."
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