King Arthur and the witch

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a
 neighbouring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him, but was
 moved by Arthur's youthful happiness. So he offered him freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer; if, after a year, he still had no answer, he
 would be put to death.

 The question was: What do women really want?

 Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and, to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. Well, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by the year's end.

 He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everybody: the princess,
 the prostitutes, the priests, the wise men, the court jester. In all, he
 spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

 What most people did tell him was to consult the old witch, as only
 she would know the answer. The price would be high, since the witch
 was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she

 The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no alternative but
 to talk to the witch.

 She agreed to answer his question, but he'd have to accept her price
 first: The old witch wanted to marry Gawain, the most noble of the
 Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!


Young Arthur was horrified: she was hunchbacked and awfully hideous,
 had only one tooth, smelled like sewage water, often made obscene
 noises...etc. He had never run across such a repugnant creature.
 He refused to force his friend to marry her and have to endure such
 a burden.

 Gawain, upon learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur. He told him
 that nothing was too big a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and
 the preservation of the Round Table. Hence, their wedding was
 proclaimed, and the witch answered Arthur's question:

 What a woman really wants is to be able to be in charge of her own

 Everyone instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it went. The neighbouring
  monarch spared Arthur's life and granted him total freedom.


What a wedding Gawain and the witch had! Arthur was torn between relief and anguish. Gawain was proper as always, gentle and courteous.


The old witch put her worst manners on display, and generally made
 everyone very uncomfortable.

 The wedding night approached: Gawain, steeling himself for a
 horrific night, entered the bedroom.  What a sight awaited! The most
 beautiful woman he'd ever seen lay before  him! Gawain was astounded and asked what had happened. The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her (when she'd been a witch), half the time she would be her horrible, deformed self, and the other half, she would be her beautiful maiden self.  Which would he want her to be during the day, and which during the night?

 What a cruel question! Gawain began to think of his predicament:
 During the day a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at
 night, in the privacy of his home, an old spooky witch? Or would he
 prefer having by day a hideous witch, but by night a beautiful
 woman to enjoy many intimate moments?

 What would you do? What Gawain chose follows below, but don't
 read until you've made your own choice.

 Noble Gawain replied that he would let her choose for herself.


 Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the
 time, because he had respected her and had let her be in charge
of her own life.

 What is the moral of this story?

The moral is that it doesn't matter if your woman is pretty or
ugly, underneath it all, she's still a witch---and don't you forget it!




Back to Index