Boys take note, King Arthur said, “Let her decide”

The adventures of the legendary King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table definitely add a masculine glamour to medieval histories. The story, based on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s imaginative History of the Kings of Britain, first gain popularity in the 12th century, Although there are other versions of King Arthur (characters and events vary), Geoffrey’s version serve as the basis for them.

The Green Knight, illustration (image credit: Sphere Magazine)

The Green Knight, illustration (image credit: Sphere Magazine)

The story that piqued my interest has nothing to do with adventures or fighting, but more of a lesson on relationship. When I first heard the story, I cracked up. From then to present, this message, Keep your woman happy. Let her decide, still rings true.   

Curious? Here’s how the story goes.

First, you must understand, there are several versions to this story. However, the outline of the story looks something like this:

Version 1: King Arthur was captured by a neighboring King. Now, the King could have killed Arthur, but because the King admired Arthur’s youth and courage, he decided that he would spare Arthur if Arthur can answer his question.

Version 2: King Arthur was hunting in the forest and he saw this beautiful deer. He chased the deer deep into the forest before finally killing it. Here, alone in the forest, Arthur was accosted by a Baron (armed warrior); the Baron said that he would kill Arthur unless Arthur answered his question.

Version 3: On a returning journey (from whatever quest), King Arthur met the Black Knight. The formidable Black Knight stated that he would only let Arthur cross the bridge if Arthur answered his question.

Basically, Arthur has to answer this very difficult question or lose his life. The question?

What thing it is that a woman most desires?

King Arthur was puzzled by the question. The only person who knew the answer was, depending on which version of the story you are reading, was either an ugly old hag or witch. Now, in exchange for the answer, the old hag / witch demanded that Arthur let her marry one of his Knights of  the Round Table. Seeing how loathsome looking the old hag / witch was, Arthur refused. Eventually, out of desperation, Arthur conceded.

The knight who volunteered for the task was Sir Gawain. Gawain was neither handsome nor tall. In fact, Gawain was rather short and plump, but he has a good heart.

On the day of the marriage, the old hag / witch horrified everyone at the wedding. Not only was she ugly, she also ate and drank indecorously.

Gawain braced himself for their nuptial night. BUT, when he walked into their wedding chamber, he saw a beautiful maiden. The maiden informed Gawain that he has broken half of her curse, to break the other half, he must answer her question.

She asked him which would he want — to have her beautiful in the morning or at night.

Gawain replied, I would let you choose for yourself.   

Bravo Sir Gawain! Boys, believe it or not, letting your girl have her way makes life so much easier and happier for you. As someone so wisely observes — If she is not happy, then you sure won’t get some.

Happy (early) VDay!


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