Oh woeful to he who thinks he understands...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 100 01:10:09 -0700
Subject: Oh woeful to he who thinks he understands...
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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 killed.
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. Since it was better than death,
however, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's
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. 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 of 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. She ate with her hands, belched
and passed gas, and made everyone uncomfortable as ever. 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 was 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 friend, 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
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.
[Warning: the story has been a bit delicate and sappy so far, I'll admit,
but at this point, it becomes coarse and slapstick instead... -psl]
What is the moral of this story?
The moral is that it doesn't matter if your woman is pretty or ugly, smart
or dumb. Underneath it all, she's still a witch.
© 2000 Peter Langston