Boldly he led his shuffling horse to the place where the butchers had their stalls.
But the other butchers were wroth when they found how he was taking their trade; and they accordingly put their heads together.
The Sheriff was already come with great pomp into the banqueting room, when Robin Hood and three or four butchers entered, and he greeted them all with great condescension; and presently the whole of a large company was seated at a table groaning beneath the good cheer of the feast.
Now the Sheriff bade Robin sit by his right hand, at the head of the board; for one or two butchers had whispered to the official, "That fellow is a right mad blade, who yet made us much sport to-day.
By this time, you must know, the feast had progressed far, and the butchers were deep in their cups.
Now, beshrew his heart," quoth jolly Robin, "that would deny a butcher.
So let no man draw up his lip, nor thrust his forefinger into his purse, for I swear that neither butcher nor Sheriff shall pay one penny for this feast.
Ay, that have I," quoth Robin, laughing loudly again, "five hundred and more horned beasts have I and my brothers, and none of them have we been able to sell, else I might not have turned butcher.
When he came to Nottingham, he entered that part of the market where butchers stood, and took up his inn in the best place he could find.
There the Sheriff had already come in state, and with him many butchers.
At last the dinner was ready to be served and the Sheriff bade Robin say grace, so Robin stood up and said, "Now Heaven bless us all and eke good meat and good sack within this house, and may all butchers be and remain as honest men as I am.
At this the Sheriff looked grave and all the guild of butchers too, so that none laughed but Robin, only some winked slyly at each other.