Robin Hood, money-lender?

London, March 7 (IANS) Robin Hood may have been a moneylender to the poor rather the selfless giver that he is thought to be, a new book suggests.

In fact, the English hero of Sherwood Forest may have been an early kind of loan shark, says the book, “Robin Hood The Unknown Templar” by John Paul Davis.

Citing scenes from “A Gest of Robyn Hode”, one of the earliest references to Robin Hood dating from the 1500s, the author says Robin lent an impoverished knight a sum of 400 pounds but asked for it to be repaid over a year.

But Robin Hood forgave the loan when the knight offered it along with an extra deposit charge, saying he had already received the money after stealing it, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The book claims that Robin was a member of the Knights Templar, a powerful Christian military organisation of the Middle Ages, who were known to charge deposit fees as usury was forbidden by the Church.

“The Templars were the most famous moneylenders in the world and 400 pounds was a vast sum of money, which hints at an organisation behind the loan rather than the act of a lone outlaw,” the newspaper quotes Davis as saying.

“The idea that he was a money lender may not fit with the traditional image of Robin Hood, but he is still shown to be a good outlaw giving his money around,” the author said.

( 244 Words)