Since his death, Robin Hood has been living next door to Gabriel, Raphael and Michael. He spends his time in the Garden of Eden mostly by sitting on clouds and reading books full of post-structuralist theories. Every so often, he spares an indifferent glance to the world he used to live on, the world of the mortal people that has radically changed in appearance, but not one bit in essence.
While his neighbours constantly compete with the Seraphim on who can ease human suffering more, which only intensified in the centuries after his death, Robin refused to so much as venture an opinion on the state of mankind, required as it was of him in the Annual Angelic Assembly.
“How is it that one such as I came to be so exalted?” He asked himself, noting the number of praises he was awarded, not to mention the number of texts and films commemorating the days in which he and a number of his gang mates used to terrorise the rich, rob them clean and share some of the stolen money with the most wretched poor. But he had never been a righteous man, much less a handsome movie star like Kevin Costner or others who played the role of him.
For all these actions he alone has been given credit, and from the whole gang he alone became an angel, while his friends have been sent to burn in hell’s thieves section.
From the day of his death, no terror or disaster that happened on earth had disturbed him, and none of the violence, depression, slavery, terrorism, war and oppression touched him. He would rather try and impress the female members of the heavenly host with tear-jerking poems and psychological amusements, as if he was still Robin, Prince of Loxley. But instead of poetry, he was now well versed in the current pseudo-intellectual fashion.
Every evening, as the angels feasted under the skies, accompanied by the virtuous heavenly choir, each of them would tell of his day’s doings. Tonight, Glorious Gabriel was the first to speak: “What a day! First, I saved a child from a burning building. Then, I added years of life to terminally ill patients, and lastly, I planted two fields full of daffodils, to replace the ones that were picked, thus preserving the natural balance!” he proclaimed unabashed, knowing that in this day and age, even the heavens hold no respect for the modest and unassuming.
“Oh, But hear about my day!” said Righteous Raphael. “I’ve set free two innocent prisoners who were framed and put in jail, I donated some angel-spit to seal the ozone layer with, and prevented two bulldozers from digging a foundation for luxury towers right on the sea shore.”
“With all due respect to my esteemed colleagues who have already spoken, and quite tastefully so, I might add,” intervened Magnificent Michael, who is responsible for the beauty of the world, “I have done some truly great deeds! I brought forth hundreds of birds of different species and magnificent colours and sent them to the world. I have also created a new holiday, named after me, in which religious people are commanded to fly in hot air balloons designed by great artist, to let the whole world marvel at their beauty, and cured young women who have come of age, but suffer skin and, um… other… diseases.”
“Thank you Michael,” said Gabriel, who had finished eating and wanted to go to sleep, to prepare for another day of eternal life. “I see everyone has had a fruitful day. But what about you Robin, how was your day?”
And all Robin could do was stutter and drum with his fingers. It would be ludicrous to tell them what happened. How can he explain the end of history to immortal angels? Still, he spoke for long minutes, using words whose meanings weren’t clear to the other angels, and ended by saying that there’s no truth in the world, that it is only “A concept made up by humans.”
“You of all people say there is not truth?” asked Gabriel, “You who have done all of those exalted deeds when you were alive, who sacrificed your freedom and even your life itself for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses? You, whose deeds can be compared only to those of Jesus Christ, of whom nothing further is asked, for he has already done and suffered enough?”
And all Robin could do was keep quiet. He didn’t want to say that it wasn’t him that the deeds were done, but by his gang of merry mates, and all he did was take the credit, and the glory. He was enchanted by life in paradise. He could sit in the evergreen gardens, drink heavenly espresso, watch the angels and talk to angelettes, and eat cakes and other delicacies without ever having to pay any bill of any kind. So he kept quiet.
“Well then, when did you plan on going down to the world to do some more good deeds?” Raphael asked, stifling a yawn.
“Not any time soon. I first have to read all of the masterpieces I didn’t have time for when I was alive,” Robin answered, and the angels let go of the subject. They knew that it was hopeless to argue with the nobleman. With more money in the heavenly coffers then stars in the night’s sky, the angels never had to think of firing an angel before he received his permanent wings. Once an angel achieved permanent status, he could never be fired. At least not without still being entitled not only to an astronomical pension, but also to an eternity-long supply of figs, which can easily empty the heavenly fund, as full as they are. The only thing that could be done was public de-winging at the centre of the universe.
One day, as Robin was watching the world and trying to find some entertainment in it, he happened upon a discussion held in a New Orleans office between two executives of a diamond and jewellery firm.
One of them presented the year’s profits, which exceeded last year’s by one hundred million dollars. The two executives, who were also senior partners and members of the board of directors, were financially set for life. They could, if they wanted to, never work again and spend the rest of their lives enjoying the fruit of their labour. But that wasn’t enough for them. They decided to cut the pay of the diamond cutters, who earn $1,000 a month for their intensive physical labour. They justified the pay cut as “health and safety deduction”, and expected it to yield a few more million in profit. It might prevent the workers from paying their bills and sending their children to college, but on the other hand – it will ensure the CEO’s debut in a famous magazine’s “Four Hundred Richest” list.
For the first time since his ascension to the heavens, Robin was shocked to his angelic core: “Here is a proof that there is no truth and that everything is meaningless,” he said to himself. He couldn’t understand why these people, who already have enough not only for their own lives, but also for those of their children’s and their children’s children, act so unfairly. Why would they even continue to accumulate wealth they cannot spend in several lifetimes?
That night Robin didn’t come to dine with the angels and meet divine creatures. He may have even shed a tear unto the world, which had become a local rainstorm in Louisiana (incidentally costing the local weatherman his job).
Robin thought of a plan. He didn’t want to take anything from those rich people. He wanted to give to them. And if he was to give them anything, he would give them the thing that would make them the poorest. Robin Hood came down to the earth, visited the firm, among others, and gave their managers moral stature. He filled them up with compassion, and as if by magic, injected them with soul and extra spirit.
It had only been a few minutes after his earthly visit before many started to really think about what they were doing. The change was so quick that a day later companies collapsed and entire corporations went bankrupt. The rich men’s wives no longer vied for new products, or took interest in “the latest” this or that. They thought, first and foremost, of the production workers and of their actual needs.
Now the rich were really rich: satisfied with what they had. They headed to the city centres, took a long breath and began building a better society.
That dinner, during the angels’ usual dinner-discussion, Gabriel praised Robin for his actions and asked “You brought so much good to the world in one day, and with such simple means. Why didn’t I think of that before?”
And all Robin could do was lift his glass and answer: “Perhaps, you too, can use some extra spirit”.
Translation by Tom Atkins
 Jewish term for a strong intention before a deed of faith.