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Robin Hood: Marian Arrested! 19

The sheriff burst into the vicar’s chambers furious at being summoned to an inferior’s office. He summoned people, they didn’t summon him! Unless they are the king or quite possibly the pope, and even then… This is exactly what he would say to the priest. That would feel good.
“This had better be worth my while!” the sheriff said, working out how to perfectly frame the whole pope part of his tirade. Then he noticed Miriam and realized that whatever it was, could not possibly be important. Did it involve a needlepoint crime? Where her crochet hooks missing?
“Ah sheriff. I am so glad you could join us. I am sure you will find this most interesting.” said Cedric, anticipating how thankful the sheriff would be when he found out what was going on. Whatever it was.
“I doubt it.” Then to Marian; “Ah Maid Marian, what brings you here on this fine day?”
Before she could answer, Father Cedric said; “We were just discussing this interesting coin.” the priest handed the farthing to the sheriff.
“What of it? Get on with it, man!  I have serious business to attend to!”
“It seems the young maid put this coin into the donation basket yesterday. I recognize the disfiguration of Henry the second. I saw her put it in the basket. You see, I bought a mug of wine with it. …on Shrove Tuesday.”
“What of it? This is a farthing! Why did you drag me into here for… Shrove Tuesday you say? Listen Marian, Where did you get this coin?” asked the sheriff finally realizing what the priest was getting at.
“I don’t remember.” Marian said. She honestly didn’t. Her income came primarily from the orphanage; most of what she did was volunteer, but they paid her for some services such as mending clothes and the like. She also received a stipend from her uncle’s will. It was enough to pay for her expenses and not much else. But the coin could have been change for the purchase of cloth, or food, or something for the orphanage. It could have come from anywhere, and she said so.
Father Cedric had not counted on this alibi. He was sure that somehow she had been involved in the robbery. It was ridiculous, he knew; a woman of Marian’s character, involved in something sordid, but he so wanted it to be true.
The sheriff; however, was not so easily dismissed from the scent. “Come now, Marian; you didn’t get it from the tavern, you didn’t get it from the stables, you didn’t get it gambling. There are really only a few places you could have gotten it from, isn’t that so? Most likely from the orphanage, isn’t that right? Don’t you think so, Father?”
“Yes, that’s why I called her in. I suspect the orphanage of foul play. They don’t seem any the worse for wear for having forfeited the Shrove Tuesday proceeds, how could that be?”
“Are you accusing the orphanage of stealing the money from you that you stole from them? That’s rich!” she practically spat the words out.
“I believe we should take her into custody.” said the sheriff.
“Well I examined the books from St Anne’s and they seem to be in order but…”
“Yes, well, that was rather bold of you. All well and good really, but I think we can get what we need from Marian.” said the sheriff.
“But I don’t know anything!” said Marian. “It’s ridiculous! we are not thieves! we are teachers and monks, and simple people! You can’t be serious!”
“Oh, but I am serious.” said the sheriff. “Spread the word. We have our first suspect in custody!” With that, the sheriff took Marian by the arm and led her out, screaming, into the town centre, across the square to the stockade. Go ahead and scream he thought. the more people who here you, the better.
Marian was born on a cold and moonless autumn evening. The wind vied for attention with the wailing of the newborn baby girl. John and Elizabeth Ackerman loved their little girl. When she was three years old, she wandered into the forest which was adjacent to the farm where her family were tenants. It was only a few minutes before she was missed, but it took hours to find her. The township of Mansfield all gathered to help look for her. When she was found, she was playing with a pack of wolf cubs as the mother looked on. She had charmed even the villains of the forest. Her mother loved to tell her that story, growing up though she had no memory of it. Ever had she been underestimated and thought to be but a fair maiden, and ever had she had something in her that belied the first impression people had of her.

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