One day, 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
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 end. He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everybody:
the princess, the prostitutes, the priests, the wise men, the court
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
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, and 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 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. She ate with her hands, belched and farted, and
made everyone 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 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
What would you do?
What Gawain chose follows below, but don't read it until you've made your
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, smart
or dumb. Underneath it all, she's still a witch.