Tales of Robin Hood are good enough for fools
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-08-10. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-28.
The proverb Tales of Robin Hood are good enough for fools (with variants such as "good for", "among fools" etc.) is among the most often cited proverbial expressions relating to the outlaw through the ages. John S. Farmer noted in explaining this proverb that "the story of Robin Hood ultimately grew so misty and traditional that the name became a generic byword for the marvellous that was not believable." While this may be part of the reason this proverbial expression arose, one also often notes tones of moral reprobation and social disparagement in passages citing it. Many allusions to Robin Hood refer to tales or songs about him in a similar tone but without actually citing the expression.
Men say, he may ill runne that cannot goe,
And your gaine without your stocke runneth even so.
For what is a workman without his tooles?
Tales of Robin Hood are good for fooles.
- Heywood, John; Farmer, John S, ed. A Dialogue of the Effectual Proverbs in the English Tongue concerning Marriage (London, 1906), p. 191.
- Allusions, especially of the 14th to 17th cent.