Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An Age Old Question

Once upon a time a young King Arthur was walking through the forest when a huge ogre jumped out and grabbed King Arthur by the neck. Arthur was so taken by surprise that he was completely overpowered and at the mercy of the ogre. As the ogre held King Arthur at sword point, he said, "I am going to kill you, but I hear you are a wise and honorable man. If you can answer me one question, I will spare your life. To prove you are an honorable man, I will let you go, but you must promise to meet me here in this place one year from today with the answer to my question."
King Arthur knowing that the ogre could easily kill him agreed to the ogre’s demands. The ogre took King Arthur at his word and released him asking this question: What does a woman want most in a man? The ogre reminded King Arthur that they would meet again in one year’s time. King Arthur must answer the question correctly or the ogre would kill him. With all of his resources and knowledge, King Arthur knew he could come up with the answer to the question. When he arrived back at the castle, he called together his Knights of the Round Table. He told them of his near death at the hands of the ogre and how he must meet the ogre again in one year with the answer to "What does a woman want most in a man". The knights began immediately giving their answers to the question. Lancelot said that what a woman wanted most in a man was a handsome man. Gawain disagreed. He thought a woman most wanted a rich man. Others offered other answers, but no one agreed. So King Arthur sent his knights to the far reaches of his kingdom to find the correct answer.
A year later the knights returned from their search, but still none could agree upon the correct answer. They were no closer to having the answer as when they started. Being an honorable man, King Arthur knew he must meet with the ogre and would probably be killed if he did not have the right answer. And so he headed off to the forest walking and thinking of what his answer would be. So deep in thought was he that he did not see the trash heap until he tripped over it. Suddenly a hideous hag arose from what Arthur had thought was just a trash heap. Arthur was much taken aback. The hideous hag scoffed at Arthur. "So King Arthur you think you are too good for the likes of me – can’t even offer a kind word to a hideous hag?"
King Arthur immediately apologized and explained that he had been deep in thought and had not seen the hag. The hag then said, "I know you Arthur. I know where you are going, and I know the answer to the question, "What does a woman want most in a man."
King Arthur was desperate, "Please, if you have the answer, you must tell me."
But the hag answered, "Not so fast Arthur. Before I give you the answer to the question, you must promise me something."
"Anything!" King Arthur said.
The hideous hag then said, "If I give you the correct answer, you must promise me marriage to a handsome man." What did Arthur have to lose? He agreed to the hag’s terms and promised her a husband if she could answer the question. Then the hag said, " What a woman wants most in a man, is sovereignty."
"Sovereignty! Why that is not the answer!" said King Arthur, but the hag insisted it was the answer. King Arthur hung his head and continued on his way to meet the ogre knowing that he still did not have the correct answer to the ogre’s question.
Eventually, King Arthur came to the same place in the forest where he had first met the ogre. The huge ogre was once again waiting for Arthur. "I see you are an honorable man. You have kept our bargain and come here today knowing that I could easily kill you. If you do not have the answer to my question, indeed, I will kill you." With that the ogre drew out his sword ready to kill King Arthur. "What does a woman want most in a man?" asked the ogre.
King Arthur replied, "A woman wants a handsome man."
"That is not correct!" said the ogre and pulled back his sword to kill Arthur.
"What a woman wants most is a rich man." Cried Arthur.
"That is not correct either! Said the ogre preparing to kill Arthur.
"Wait" cried Arthur. "What a woman wants most in a man is sovereignty." With that the ogre put down his sword. I see you have been talking to my sister the hag. That is the correct answer." The ogre turned and left.
King Arthur was greatly relieved, but now he had a new problem to contemplate. He had promised the hag a husband. Who would he ever be able to find to marry such a hideous hag?
To be continued.

No comments: