Saturday, May 13, 2006

Herne the Hunter, from "Robin of Sherwood".

In Robin of Sherwood Herne the Hunter is the pagan priest from whom Robin receives guidance as to how to channel his skills and defend the oppressed people of England. This is a really refreshing change from the concept of Robin as defender of an absent Crusader King, and probably a lot closer the truth.
According to legend Herne was originally employed to look after the Forest of Windsor where he was favoured by the King because of his great hunting and woodcraft skills. This led to much jealousy among the other hunters. One day Herne saved the King's life by stepping between him and a charging stag. He fell as if dead, but a dark figure appeared, calling himself Urswick, and telling the King that for a reward he would save Herne. The stranger then cut the head from the stag, bound it to Herne's head, and carried the body back to Herne's own hut. Upon his recovery the King made Herne the Chief Keeper of the Forest.
However, the other jealeous foresters also did a deal with the strange Urswick, the result of which was that all Herne's great skills disappeared as if by magic. The King then fired Herne, who subsequently hung himself from an oak. But by night Herne's spirit would rise up and lead a band of great hunters through Windsor Forest, killing the King's deer. The only way Herne's ghost could be appeased was for the King to hang those foresters responsible for his demise, and this he did. But it is said Herne’s Spirit ruled the forest for eight years after the King's death, and may indeed be there to this day.
Above and right inset: John Abineri as Herne the Hunter in Robin of Sherwood. Left inset: Sorcerer Baron De Belleme played by Anthony Valentine, who plots to steal the source of Robin Hood's power and skill.

For more about Robin Hood as the Green Man of Pagan beliefs see THIS LINK. The "darker", more mystical side of Robin Hood is also depicted on THIS LINK and THIS LINK.

Labels: , , , , ,