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[collected 2002-01-21 22:38:19 CST (Jan Mon) 1011674299]


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 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, and 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 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 on until you've made your own 
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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.  

Scroll some more: 

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! 
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Cogito ergo spud (I think therefore I yam).
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