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Little John

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A big stalwart fellow, named John Little (or John Nailor), who encountered Robin Hood, and gave him a sound thrashing, after which he was rechristened, and Robin stood godfather. Little John is introduced by Sir Walter Scott in The Talisman.

“‘This infant was called John Little,ʹ quoth he;

‘Which name shall be changed anon.

The words weʹll transpose, so wherever he goes,

His name shall be called Little John.”


Ritson: Robin Hood, xxi.

Little John was executed on Arbor Hill, Dublin.

It will be remembered that Maria in Twelfth Night, represented by Shakespeare as a little woman, is by a similar pleasantry called by Viola, “Olivia’s giant;” and Sir Toby says to her, “Good night, Penthesileʹa”—i.e. Amazon.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Little
Little
Little Britain
Little Corporal (The)
Little Dauphin (The)
Little Ease
Little-Endians
Little Englanders
Little-Go
Little Jack Horner
Little John
Little Masters
Little Nell
Little Ones (The)
Little Paris
Little Pedlington
Little Red Ridinghood
Little Gentleman in Velvet (The)
Little Packs become a Little Pediar
Liturgy
Live