47 Random Fragments of Unauthorised Hope and Despair


“I LOVE Robin Hood,” announced the boy when the father had finished telling him that evening’s tale from the greenwood. “Don’t you, Daddy?”

The father smiled warily. Even though he always took his son up into the attic for these story-telling sessions, to avoid the microphones, he never felt totally at ease with breaking the law in this way.

“Yes,” he replied at length.

“Daddy,” said the boy thoughtfully. “If you were alive in those days of King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham, would you have went into the forest and joined the Merry Men and stealed from the rich and gived to the poor?”

“Oh yes,” said the father, making the effort to be more enthusiastic. “And you could have come with me. We’d have both been there, helping Robin Hood and Little John and all the others.”

“And Mummy?”

“Yes, of course. And Mummy.”

How could he have forgotten Mummy?

“Daddy?” began the boy again.


“Are there still baddies in the world today?”

“Well, yes, I suppose there are.”


“Mm?” He didn’t like the way this was heading.

“Why don’t you and me and Mummy go and live in the woods like Robin Hood and Little John and Friar Tuck and Will Scarlett and shoot the baddies with our bows and arrows and not care what any of them tries to do to get us back?”

The boy looked at the man, the man looked back at the boy and both of them knew that when the answer eventually came it would be far from satisfactory.