Ted Cruz sought to teach a lesson in folklore to Bernie Sanders, telling him that Robin Hood was fighting high taxes.

"I think Bernie fundamentally misunderstood that story," the Texas Republican said during his debate Wednesday night with Sanders over the Republican tax plan, which the Vermont independent had called a "Robin Hood proposal in reverse."

"Robin Hood was robbing the tax collectors who were collecting too much taxes from the working men and women, and taking it for the rich," Cruz explained.

"In Bernie's analogy, it is the Democrats who are King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Robin Hood is saying: 'Tax collectors, stop hammering people who are struggling, who are laboring in the fields, who are working, stop taking it to the castle to give out to your buddies.'"

Cruz's exegesis of the English legend came at the outset of the two-hour debate hosted on CNN. In the early going, Cruz accused Sanders of seeking tax hikes on the middle class. In turn, Sanders criticized the GOP tax plan as a giveaway to top earners and billionaires at a time when they are prospering.