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Sir Gawain... A True Knight
Sir Gawain... A True Knight
My Favorite Arthirian Tale...
Arthur looses a duel and is told that he has so much time (365 days, one year) in order to solve a riddle/question or come back and forfeit his life. The question is… What does a woman want?
For the next year Arthur and all of Camelot tries to find an answer to this question. Needless to say, the great king and his great city are unable to figure this question out.
With his 365 days (one-year) up… the king rides to his fate. Along the way Arthur comes across a very disgusting looking old woman who asks him, “Why are you so cheerless?” He responds by telling her of what is to come of him and why. The hideous woman cackles at him and tells him that she can answer the question. Hearing this, Arthur tells her that he will grant her anything she wants if she would be willing to help save his life. In return she supplies him with the answer, “What a woman wants most is to have her own way.” Upon telling the knight who beat him the answer to his question, Arthur is freed from having to forfeit his life.
Now freed and cheerful again, Arthur gets word of what the Loathly Lady desires in return for her having helped. She desires to marry one of his Knights of the Round Table!
Being the most noble of the knights… Sir Gawain steps forward to marry the lady (Dame Ragnelle).
Upon their wedding night (which Gawain has been dreading since she is a old woman) she reveals to him that she is actually a very beautiful woman. She was cursed so that she would only be beautiful for half of the day (a reverse story to Shrek where the princess was beautiful by day and hideous by night). She gives Sir Gawain the choice of whether or not she should be beautiful by day and hideous by night, or beautiful by night or hideous by day? He ponders this for awhile… should she be beautiful by day so that all of the men can envy what he has, or should he only allow her to be beautiful by night so that he can have her beauty strictly to himself? In the end, he says the choice is not his to make, but is in fact her choice to make. Upon giving this answer… the curse is lifted and she remains beautiful for all the future days and nights.
What I find the most interesting is that the versions of this story that I have read… it does not say if Sir Gawain was aware of the answer to what it was women wanted most. Thus he may have really shown how much of a true gentleman he really was by naturally getting the answer correct. He was faced with a very hard choice that many men (including myself) would have probably gotten greedy over. Instead of following his own heart, he allowed her to follow her own. As such he was rewarded in a way that he most likely did not think possible.
We must allow people to walk their own path in life. Many things in this world can lead us astray… our hearts are normally the one thing in which does not do this though.
Sir Gawain was a true knight… and just this one story alone proves that.
5/26/2005 6:59 am
I agree, and that is why I like these so much. They have various meanings! |
5/24/2005 6:39 am
Hm. I've never heard this tale before, but I'm not up on the Arthurian mythos. I like it. The underlying message, to me, is that men and women are essentially alike. Both sexes, it seems to me, like having their way more than they like anything else.|
But other things would have served as answers that would have been equally as universal: happiness for example.
with a wink,