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

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. 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

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 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

Which would he want her to be during the day and which during the

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 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?

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