This came to me the other day, when I realised that, in any Robin Hood tale, they never show the ordinary people until the last few minutes of the film when they are handing out the spoils.
Scene 1 - Nottingham Castle.
[Robin Hood surprises the Sheriff and holds him at the point of a sword. ]
“So finally I have you, now lead me to the Gold.”
“I’m afraid I no longer have any. The king has replaced all the Gold with these pieces of paper. [Hold up fistfuls of notes]. You’ll have to talk to him”
“And so I shall” [Robin dashes off flamboyantly ] [Cut to scene with the sheriff laughing maniacally with his pile of notes, shouting “I’m rich, rich. Rich beyond my wildest dreams”, etc].
Scene 2 - Kings chambers
[Robin drops in to the kings chamber, draws his sword and points to the King]
“So finally I have you, now lead me to the Gold”
[King sits laconically in throne, looks up from his book, and chuckles]
“Gold? We haven’t used Gold since 1171. Have a look yourself, the vaults over there” [Points].
[Robin checks the empty room, looks puzzled].
“But how do you run the country without Gold?”
“Oh I use one of those” [Pan to computer, Robin looks surprised, pan back to King] “Just type in the numbers and boom everybody get paid. That keeps all the serfs engaged, and they produce all the output. Have you thought about speaking to the serfs?”
“I shall see the serfs when I have the Gold. As is traditional this will be in the last ten seconds of the film when they cheer my entrance into their villages and I dispense the alms from the back of my horse” [Robin flicks hair majestically].
“I speak to them all the time. As an English King I can only rule by common consent. You might want to consider talking to the serfs a bit earlier, unless you think you know what they want better than they do just because you have a sword, a fancy bow and a degree in Outlawing from Herne University”
“I spent four years in the depths of Sherwood on that degree I’ll have you know - including a gap year in the New Forest showing the locals how to hunt deer. I will speak to the serfs then, if I must”
[Robin Exits. King rolls eyes and goes back to his book]
Scene 3 - Serf village
[Picture of serf in field]
“Good sir, please tell me how the king oppresses you”
“Oppresses? No, we get well paid for our work in the king’s money”.
“But you slave all day in the fields?”
“No. Mostly we use the machines” [cut to archive footage of combines, crop sprayers covering huge areas, etc.] “We just do a bit of weeding around the edges”.
“But the sheriff takes all you earn in taxes”.
“No. The king pays us in full. The Sheriff keeps those pieces of paper so he can count them. He likes counting them, they don’t cost anything to produce, and in return his heavies keep the roads clear. We exchange money for proper stuff” [Pan to house, car and family sat having a barbecue - who wave at Robin].
[Robin looks puzzled] “But don’t you want any Gold?”.
“Pfft What’s the point in that. All that effort digging it out of the ground just to have to pay to store it again. We haven’t had use of that stuff for years. Where have you been - hiding out in a forest or something?”
[Robin looking shocked]. “Well yes actually. And perhaps it’s time I went back. I just don’t understand any of this any more. It’s triggering me!”.
[Rides off into sunset]
[Serf to camera] “What a loser. Oy - leave a sausage on that grill for your old man.”