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Were Robin Hood and William Tell real people in history?

Updated on January 24, 2018

Let's begin with William Tell

Note: Tammy meets William Tell is book five in the Wurtherington Diary children's series.

I would bet that many us never gave this question much thought and probably do not know the answer with any certainty. Certainly all of us have read a book or watched a movie with Robin Hood as the central character. All of the stories are fiction so we must inquire a bit to see where the truth may lie. Until I read the Wurtherington Diary, I would not have known the answer at all. For those of you not familiar with the Diary, it is a recently discovered Diary unearthed in River Falls, Ohio and brought to my (Reynold Jay) attention.

In it the reader can discover the truth behind several of the legendary heroes of history. In her Diary, Tammy Wurtherington explains that on occasion the space-time continuum needs a "nudge" in order to set the world back in proper order. As a reader of the Diary (and restoration leader) I found Tammy arising from her sleep on occasion and discovering that her world had been turned upside-down by an important historic event in history going astray. She never hesitates to travel back in time and in order to see that history remains firmly on track.

Tammy travels back in time to the year 1307. She lands in Switzerland on her mission to see that William Tell shoots the apple off his son's head in the the town square of Altdorf. She discovers that William Tell did exist and was a freedom fighter in an important battle in Morgarten. His courageous act of shooting the apple of his son's head under the threat of death became a shinning beacon of freedom for his people. He went further than that when we discover that he shot the cruel Gessler later the same day. William Tell is clearly not to be taken lightly when it comes to family. From Tammy's Diary we discover that William Tell lived deep in the forest and up until that fateful day with the apple, he felt that it was up to each man to defend his household. The problems of his neighbors were of no concern. That worked well for him as he was far from the village high up hidden in the mountains. We can figure that being carried off by soldiers in chains while helpless villagers look on was a big part of his change of heart.

Commander Tell

In a touching page in the Diary William Tell explains very well his new frame of mind. Tammy writes--

"...He ( William Tell) called Hedwig and Walter to the front yard where we planned to say our farewell. "Before thee depart, I want ye to hear what I must say to my son."

We sat and listened.

Walter said, "Father, thee sound so serious."

William Tell said, "I must make a confession to ye. 'Tis that I hath lived a life of folly. I was taught by my father that a man must stand alone and separate from all others. His father taught him this and 'twas what we believed from the moment we were born. I hath already taught ye the same. I know now that I must undo the great harm I have passed onto ye. 'Tis not too late as I must tell ye that I was wrong to teach ye this and can only hope that thou will forgi'e me. I hath learned today that freemen must stand shoulder to shoulder if we are to hold onto our freedom. The tyrants are like jackals that join in packs to bring down a helpless prey. 'Tis only when we do the same that we have any hope of survival. We must be smarter and stronger than the tyrants as they will always outnumber us. This idea of freedom is worth all the sacrifices that we must make from this point in our lives. We can nay longer live in the past."

Walter said, "I understand very well what ye say. I will do as thou hath taught me today."

William Tell said, "'Tis Tammy who hath brought me to this day. She is but a little lass that has traveled from far away who hath come to help us fight our battle here. She has ne-er asked for anything in return. I stand humbled before her wisdom and bravery."

I gave William Tell a final embrace. "You are a gentle man, William Tell. I may one day visit you again."

He said, "From this moment I pledge my life to freedom. I am willing to die with a sword in my hand as a freeman. I will ne-er submit to anything less."

We waved to the Tell family as we flew off into the distance."

Later in the Diary Tammy returns to the home of William Tell when she discovers that the battle of Morgarten was lost to Duke Leopold I of Austria. We see in the Diary how it all went down properly and that William Tell was an important commander in the army. In that they were outnumbered seven to one we see first hand how William Tell and others fought bravely and overcame the Austrian army that was determined to bring the Swiss to their knees.

Robin Hood not in Sherwood Forest

In her exploits with Robin Hood, she discovers that Robert Fitzwalter was one of twenty-five barons that ruled England in the years around 1212 to 1215. We discover that Robert Fitzwalter was the living person that later became known as the legend of Robin Hood. King John was real enough too and to say he was a nasty person would be an understatement. He had such a problem with the barons that he had them send hostages to the Tower of London and kept everyone in line as best he could by threatening to kill family members. When Eustace de Vesci and Fitzwalter refused to send family members as hostages, the legend was born. King John burned down their castles and banished them from England under the threat of death. It is a fascinating story, indeed, to view all the political intrigue that went on in the turbulent dark ages. There was little order as the king dealt with his subjects without any law as we know it in place.

Tammy's mission was to see that the Magna Carta was sealed. She discovers that many events needed to fall into place for this to occur. She very much remained at Fitzwalter's side for the entire three years. Great armies were assembled, huge battles were fought, and ultimately we see that Fitzwalter became a legend when his "grievances against the king" became known as the Magna Carta. When one considers that the document is the most important historical document in the history of the world; it is easier to understand why the man became a legend. All those tales about Sherwood forest and his band of merry men can be forgotten!

The answer to our question is" Yes!" William Tell and Robin Hood were important freedom fighters during the dark ages and had it not been for them, the world as we know it would not exist. Let's be thankful that courageous men stood up for this new ideology called freedom nearly a thousand years ago and gave us the world that we live in today.

All images copyrighted 2015 Reynold Jay

© 2015 Reynold Jay


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    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you Besarien. You put a smile on my face today!

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 6 months ago

      I am glad freedom has such staunch defenders. I love the imagination and the gorgeous illustrations -another wonderful hub, Reynold Jay!

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 20 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Fiona, Thank you for stopping by today!

    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 20 months ago from South Africa

      Very interesting - one always wonders whether or not our favorite stories have a base in fact.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Glad you stopped by Nadine. Always a pleasure.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Just before bedtime...what an interesting read! Love the illustrations

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you Flourish. Glad you stopped by today and gave me a reason to smile.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I'm glad you're helping to revive the age old heroes. They were important all those years for good reasons. Beautiful illustrations too.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you, Mel for taking time to comment. Freedom is always being challenged at every turn.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Freemen must stand shoulder to shoulder. The lesson rings true even today, especially today. Thank you for these interesting history lessons. Great hub!

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you Manatita and Larry for your support. Yep--they are real figures in history.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great read. I've actual looked into these historical figures before. It is fairly likely both these figures existed.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Yes, Reynold,

      I'm sure that they would have existed in some form, even as they exist now. Those who burn for justice are always around to rise as necessary, at the God-given moment. Thank you for creating this awareness of the reality of Freedom Fighters. Much Love.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you--Ms Dora--having my name mentioned in the same sentence as Robin Hood and William Tell caught me by surprise.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks to William Tell and Robin Hood, and to you Reynold Jay for the education and for keeping their stories alive. Interesting project and interesting read!

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you DDE. You put a smile on my face.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Reynold Jay your writing amazes me! Always interesting!

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Billy! An honor that you found this. Yep--Tammy gets around and history abounds here.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, okay, I might have to read some of these Tammy books. They look interesting AND educational, and for an old teacher, that's a combination I can't ignore. Great read...thanks my friend.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Denise! If you are Swiss descendent you are a special person around here. I came to admire the Swiss while doing the research and have a longing to visit the sites that are mentioned in the novel. Yep--forget Sir Walter--Robin Fitzwalter is the true Robin Hood. Thank you for hunting up my latest HUB.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Awesome storys, Reynold. I love William Tell... I'm descended from Swiss immigrants so maybe that has something to do with it. I knew he was real but I thought the first mention of Robin Hood was in the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (another of my progenitors). So I did think he was made up... or at least the legend was. Thanks for setting me straight.