Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Little John.

 Little Jack Horner.Little Masters. 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Little John.
 
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.   1
       
“‘This infant was called John Little,’ quoth he;
‘Which name shall be changed anon.
The words we’ll transpose, so wherever he goes,
His name shall be called Little John.”
       
Ritson: Robin Hood, xxi.
   Little John was executed on Arbor Hill, Dublin.   2
   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, Penthesile’a”—i.e. Amazon.   3
 


 Little Jack Horner.Little Masters. 

 
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