Back at a bend in the road he heard a rumbling and a lumbering, when up drove a stout butcher, whistling gaily, and driving a mare that sped slowly enough because of the weight of meat with which the cart was loaded.
"A good morrow to you," returned the butcher, civilly enough.
"The saints forefend that you should treat me ill!" said the butcher in terror.
Here he took from his girdle a well-filled purse, and continued, "I would fain be a butcher, this day, and sell meat at Nottingham town.
"Heaven bless ye, good Robin," cried the butcher right joyfully, "that can I!" And he leaped down forthwith from the cart, and handed Robin the reins in exchange for the purse.
There, as he rambled along the sunlit road, he met a lusty young butcher driving a fine mare and riding in a stout new cart, all hung about with meat.
"Ay, that am I," quoth the jolly Butcher, "and why should I not be so?
"I go to the market at Nottingham Town to sell my beef and my mutton," answered the Butcher. "But who art thou that comest from Locksley Town?"
"Now, by Our Lady's grace," cried the Butcher, "well do I know thy name, and many a time have I heard thy deeds both sung and spoken of.
"At four marks do I value meat, cart, and mare," quoth the Butcher, "but if I do not sell all my meat I will not have four marks in value."
But the butcher, having music in his soul, had listened with a divided desire for Tookey's defeat and for the preservation of the peace.
"Very like you would," said the butcher. "But it's no business o' mine.