Bbefore Carpenter and Cooper, John Masefield had summoned up Herne in his 1935 novel, The Box of Delights. In this classic tale, a school boy Kay Harker encounters an old punch and judy man, Cole Hawlings, who is far more than he appears. Hawlings possesses a powerful magical device, the titular Box of Delights, a much coveted item, and currently being sought by the dark magician Abner Brown. Anyhow, without being the purple pim and unleashing assorted spoilers, Kay ends up with the Box for a time, and can't resist a peek inside. The Box opens up the magical vista of an old English wildwood, and then, well, let's have John Masefield himself tell us...
Now this Herne is a far friendlier fellow. While still portrayed as a lord of the wildwood, he is kind and wise, and becomes an important ally for Kay on his adventures with the Box. However what's interesting is that Masefield gives the reader no explanation of who Herne is. Now the first possibility is that our highly literate author assumed that his young audience would be familiar already with the legend of Herne the Hunter - after all, Kay knows who Herne is.
However Masefield's Herne is somewhat different from any versions of Herne the child of 1935 would have encountered before. For example, as well as getting a mention in Shakespeare - more on that later - Herne was a key figure in a Victorian novel that was still a bestseller in Masefield's time, but this was a very different figure indeed.