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Jesse James: Modern Robin Hood

Just a quick story today. I found this on Futility Closet's blog here.

As many of you know, Jesse James has been compared to Robin Hood in that he pretty much exclusively robbed from the rich. I don't believe he so much gave to the poor, but he certainly helped out where he could--or at least made sure not to take from those who had less than he did.

There's a famous story about how whenever The James Younger gang robbed trains, they would ask passengers to hold out their bare hands. If your hands were soft, you got robbed. If your hands were rough and calloused, you could keep your money. Needless to say, this was an imperfect empirical observation.

Anyway, here's another story of James's sort-of generosity:

"Jesse James once sought shelter at a lonely farmhouse. The widow there apologized for her poor hospitality. She said she had very little money and despaired of paying the debt collector, who was coming imminently to demand $1,400.

"James gave her $1,400 and told her to get a receipt. Then he hid outside and watched the road.

"The debt collector arrived, looking grim, and entered the house. A few minutes later he emerged, looking pleased.

"James accosted him, took back the $1,400, and rode off."


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