THE GREEN MAN by Gail E. Haley


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Haley's appended note refers to several legends (Robin Hood, Arthur's knights, a 12th-century story of Danish Prince Amleth), but sheds no light on their connection or their darker origins; nor does it relate to the story she tells of a prince who serves his term as the Green Man after a forest swim when his clothes and horse are snitched. Claude, who till now has been ""arrogant, vain, and selfish"" and has mocked the common folks' belief in the Green Man, is transformed by his stay in the forest, where he gathers wild food and cares for the animals. Then one day Claude comes upon another fine young man splashing in the water and takes his clothes and horse to return home, kind and generous. Why didn't he go home sooner? At first, he was ashamed to return without his clothes; then, later, he felt ""needed in the forest."" But why do the animals need a human caretaker? And why do children need such arbitrary, pious ""legends""? And it's all lifelessly related--though at times Haley's stagy imitations of medieval tapestry project a verdant, emblematic vitality that the story badly needs.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1980
Publisher: Scribners