MD Question of the Ages

From: MarshaV (
Date: Wed Oct 13 2004 - 06:35:56 BST

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    Question of the Ages

    Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a
    neighboring 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 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 charged.

    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 life.

    Everyone instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that
    Arthur's life would be spared. And so it went. The neighboring 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

    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.

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