The BETTER GIFT

By Verenize Bernal Curiel
Email Verenize

Chapter I

" Wow, What good a hunt!! " Little John said happily.

" Yes John, with this, we will have a perfect dinner for Christmas " Robin Hood added observing the deer that they had just hunted, so that the people of the camp can prepare them for Christmas night.

" Ah... I love this season... the food..." John said.

" Yeah...The celebration... the dance. " Robin added.

" The embraces... And the one which moves me the most... The gifts! " John was really enthusiastic.

" Sure but... the good desires are the better gift John."

"Of Course Robin... but see all the people concerned, searching for and making that small detail that they know is going to make that little kid happy, or relative, or friend... or a beloved person. " As John said this, Robin’s smile was gone, fading away, little by little until he didn't say anything more. John stopped upon seeing his expression and he stopped in front of him. "Has something happened? " He seriously asked him.

" No, " Robin said insecure " What could happen? " He was trying to hide something. John looked at him deeply.

" Oh... Oh...! " John murmured with enormous eyes and his eyebrow lifted up.

" What? " Robin asked hiding again.

" OH... OH. !! " John’s voice was a mixture between concern and laughter.

" WHAT????" Robin grunted, desperate.

" You weren’t thinking of giving Marion a good desire, were you?

" Well... not... " He said walking again. John stayed, he stopped following him. Robin stopped again and looked at the giant who was holding his laugh back. " What is the problem? Why do you do such scandal? " He said gesticulating. John looked at him compassionate. Robin approached to him and he tried to explain with assurance. " I had not thought of Marion’s gift but it doesn't have to be a problem... "

" Really? " John had begun to have an attitude between innocence and funny.

" Number one: She is a woman, isn’t she? " Robin argued.

" In view of all of us, she has the attributes of one of them... " John knew his friend was in a corner and the young archer was aware he was at the mercy of John’s joke.

" Number two: When you perfectly know the person, you know the one present, which she likes, and the one, which would make her happy, don’t you?

"That is so. You are right... " John agreed with the his arms crossed on his chest.

" Then?

" I say the same Robin... Then??

Robin stayed quiet with an expression of uncertainty provoking John into exploding in an enormous laughter. The giant embraced his friend and told him:

" If you want any advice, you could request of me my friend " Robin lowered his guard and nodded.

" Give me your advice John.

" You have two options...

" Well, I’ll listen to you " Robin was really attentive.

" First, You can pray that God illuminates you and makes you think of something soon...

And the second…is that you go with King Richard and combat with him in the Crossed, I believe it is easier for you to be in that battle than incur Marion’s anger ...!! " John laughed loudly.

" So comic..." Robin was obnoxious.

" Don’t get worried my friend" John could hardly speak from the laughter "You have all the elements very clear. She is a woman and very well known to her, isn’t she? Also..." John was really enjoying this – "You are Robin Hood!"

" Okay...it is enough... I will think of something, but do me a favor John...

" Anything you want my friend... " John was solemn.

" Don’t mention any of this. Can you do that? Act like everything is under control, okay?

" But if you are THE WORST ACTOR…"

" I am not an actor. I am just an archer " Both men laughed and returned back to the camp.

* * *

" Thank God!" Tuck shouted, happy when he saw the shipment of his friends " You have made a good work¡¡

" The better searcher and the better archer as a team, what more could one request? " Robin commented proudly.

" Yes... yes... All of us already know that. This Christmas all of the people are collaborating with so much enthusiasm that I am excited!" Tuck went to the kitchen followed by Robin and John.

" Smell delicious Friar. What are you cooking?" – John’s mouth watered at the smells.

" The favorite tart of Robin.

" Why do you favor him so much Tuck? " John puckered his eyebrow simulating jealousy. Robin only smiled.

" The women are baking tarts and pastry of all flavors.

" All of them??" Robin was sarcastic upon thinking that if Marion was cooperating, that would be a disaster.

" Well, except Marion. She left the camp this morning. " Tuck followed with his works.

" Where did she go? Did anybody go with her? " Robin always got worried when she left alone.

" She didn't want anyone to go with her. You already know how she is when she is so mysterious. She only told me that she had to get some things in a village. I don’t know... I suppose things of women " Tuck told it without importance. John opened his enormous blue eyes and allowed escaping the syllables that Robin disliked.

" Did she go to buy something in the villages? " John looked at Robin " OH... OH!. " Robin made a grimace. He knew the what would follow.

" Oh...Oh??" Tuck turn to look at to his friends with uncertainty " Oh. Oh.?

" OH... OH.! " John emphasized his joke. Robin bent over his head and his dark hair covered his face.

" John... " The archer looked at John giving him a shut up smile.

" It will be better that I go see if somebody needs my help... " He gave up, he spun around, before leaving he did it again" OH... OH! " He loosed a horselaugh and left the room.

" Did I miss something? " Tuck asked to the young thief.

" Not, nothing important... " Robin tried to be convincing. He left the kitchen. Tuck looked at him as he left.

" Hummm... poor Robin, he has never been a good actor.

* * *

Robin walked in the camp. It was true. All of the people were enthusiastic with the party; the atmosphere was full of happiness.

"It could not be so difficult to search for something pretty for Marion" he thought while he traveled the camp. Nothing seemed to come to his head. Suddenly he saw Adam battle with wooden pieces. Robin ran to help him.

" Thank you Robin " Adam said when Robin helped him to load part of the boards that he carried.

"What is this for Adam? " Robin asked.

"It is a surprise for my wife Robin. I had promised her to repair the hut. Before I could not have gotten all material that I needed, but now that I have it, I want to repair it and give it to her as a Christmas gift.

" Marvelous gift..." Robin smiled but his smile was soon gone transforming in certain sadness.

" Does something happen? " Adam asked upon noting the shade in his friend’s face.

" Mm…nnoo... Well, as a matter of fact... " Adam looked at Robin with curiosity.

" Yes or no?

" Well... perhaps you could help me. You have more experience than I do in many things. " Adam was surprised by Robins request, he would gladly listen to him. He was honored that Robin wanted to ask him any question, but about what...? He wanted to give him the same honor in his answer.

"I’ve known you since you were a kid Robin, and I can understand that you have doubts. It is not easy to grow without a father and without somebody near that can guide you toward those things that only between relationships of great trust could be commented. If you want my advice, it is a pleasure to give it to you. " The solemnity of Adam caused Robin to pause, were they speaking of the same thing? The man noted his hesitation, and tried to soften the mood. " Don’t look at me so Robin. I only thought you were already prepared for the occasion. It is more. I thought that you had already passed for this.

" In fact...I had never gotten ready in order to give a gift of so much importance " the outlaw answered innocently.

" I agree my friend. It is the greatest gift. It is something marvelous and clearly that one must be prepared in order to give it and in order to receive it. " Robin sat down in a log and looked at the floor.

" Good Adam, in reality I didn't think that this was so complicated. All women are similar, and I don't know why; when something is about Marion, everything is converted to a great problem. She is very strong. Do you know it?

" Oh...Yes, yes... she is, but that should not worry to you, you are strong too.

" I have seemed that way to you and to the other men and it is like you know exactly what is needed in order to please your women. You know what to give them in order to make them happy. " Adam swelled up, proud of himself.

" It takes time Robin, it is as a matter of practice...

" Practice?? But Adam... how many Christmas’ have to pass so that I know what to give to Marion?

" Christmas Gift? Is that what you are speaking of? " Adam’s face fell in confusion.

" Of course, what else? You repair your hut; other people buy kitchen frets, cloths, and threads. But what could I give Marion if she doesn't sew and doesn't cook? You said that you could advise me Adam."

" Humm...yes... I can it’s just... I thought that you...

" What - I what?

" So... the one thing that you want, Is for me to give you an idea of what you can give Marion for Christmas?

" Yes... That’s it..." Robin moved his head affirming each thing that his friend said waiting for some kind of answer.

" Oh...oh...

" Please not..." Robin got up angered.

" Don't get angry It is just neither I don't have the faintest idea of what could be that special gift.

" No? But you were very sure Adam. " Suddenly Robin didn't understand anything.

" Let me think, I could tell you many things. Look at this, why don't you buy her a pretty pot so that she experiences her stews?

" Are you crazy? Do you want her to throw it at my head? Also... Who wants her to cook???." Robin shook his hands and he went away disappointed. Adam picked up his wood and laughed of himself.

Robin went to the kitchen again looking for the friar, passed close to John.

" How is it going my friend? " John asked smiling. Robin looked at him and didn’t answer following his road. – Oh...oh..." upon listening to the two last sounds, Robin stopped in dry, but before that he turn to give a murderous look to John, he had fled far from him.

Robin entered the kitchen. Tuck and Miranda followed preparing delicious plates for Christmas dinner. Robin was served a little of water and he sat down heavily in a bank next to the table.

"Do you want to eat something Robin? " Tuck offered searching with his concerned look at his friend.

" No ... Actually...I am not hungry " Robin answered dryly.

" Could I help you in something? " Tuck asked in a low voice.

" No ... " Robin looked at Miranda who had turned her back. " Tuck understood.

" Miranda, could you bring more herbs for that deer? " The woman understood too. She looked at Robin, smiled and left. " Humm?

" I have a problem Friar... That in reality is not a problem. It is just converted to a problem for whom it is about, that is who normally causes me the most difficult problems of resolving. And this should not be problem if I know very well to the person, but it is as...

" Stop Robin¡. You are making me feel sick with this tongue twister. Let me guess... You don’t have the Christmas gift for Marion, do you? " Robin was surprised when he was aware that Tuck knew what he meant, even without it being said.

" Did John tell you this…the truth? " The outlaw felt betrayed.

" No, I have spoken with John nothing of this. But is that it? " Robin felt alleviated to the knowledge that John had not been the traitor.

" If, that is the problem. Oh...oh..." The friar allowed escaping the hated exclamation. Robin covered his ears and shook his head.

" Not again...please.... " He said suppliant " Enough of..."Oh, ohs."

" Sorry... "

" How did you know it is my problem?"

" Simple... not even Prince John causes you to be so worried. " Robin smiled in front of the answer of his friend. " It is normal Robin, when one loves a person and is afraid to deceive her, there isn’t anything in the world, that could worry or hurt more. But we should go to the heart of the matter. What do you have planned?"

"Planned?"

" Good God... I suppose that you have some alternatives. Don’t you? " For the expression in Robin’s face Tuck could guess it. – "Well... tell me the first that occurs to you and we can plan from there, do you agree? " It became a long pause. Robin’s mind was hollow. With that, John entered to keep them company. Upon seeing him, Robin made a grimace.

" I won't say anything. In reality I want to help Robin" The childish John’s face seemed sincere.

" Well, but if I listen to the same expression again..."

" You won't listen to it " John interrupted " I promise you..."

" This is serious " Tuck commented putting several apples on the table – "We will start... " Each man took an apple and began to eat without saying a word, until Robin gave the first try.

" How about clothing?? Maybe it can be something elegant?"

" An elegant clothing? For the camp? " John said with his full mouth. " She could not use it here unless she goes to any of those parties that Sir Guy organizes. " Robin turned toward him and gave a clap so strong on John’s arm. That he swallowed the piece of apple whole.

" And although she could use it here Robin " The friar added, " It is to late in order to ask someone to make one. It is required of many days before, measured... I don’t know.

" You are right, it is easier make pants " Robin took another apple and bit it with force.

" And who wants Marion in pants? " John laughed again. Robin looked at him jealousy. " Heyyy! It was a joke!. " Again the silence.

" Utensils of the kitchen? " The friar added. Three men looked at each other, and they said in unison:

" Noo...

" A recipe book? " The three were looked at again and they said in unison:

" Nooo.

" Another hut?

" Noooo.

" Another horse?

" Nooooo.

End of Chapter One

Chapter One
 Chapter Two

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