So... she asked Sir Leo an impossible question, ordering him to return in a year with the answer. If he was right, she would hold a feast, celebrating for him. If he was wrong, Arthur would order him beheaded.
Sir Leo Bobby Jim rode all over the kingdom, asking every woman the question: “What do you really want?”
Each woman gave him a different answer...
- to be clever...
- to be wealthy...
- to be beautiful...
- et cetera...
En route, he passed some beautiful dancers in the forest... but as he drew near, they vanished, fading into the mist. In their place stood an old woman. Sigh. Sir Leo decided to ask her his question anyway...
When she turned to reply, he nearly screamed aloud: she was the ugliest creature he had ever seen. One eye looked skyward, the other looked ground-ward, her long nose was bent to the side, her face was deformed & covered in pimples. Her voice, when she spoke, was a selfish, pride-ridden snarl, with a whingey undertone; her natural expression was angry & resentful.
The Loathley Lady gave Leo a ghastly grin, & cackled “I am ugly, snappy, & selfish. I am inconsistent, snappy, self-centred, so even my children can’t deal with me. I can answer your question — but in return there is a thing you must do for me.”
Leo agreed, ”I’ll return as soon as I’ve spoken to Guinevere.”
“The answer to your question is...” she began...
Leo galloped full-tilt to Camelot; when he arrived, he marched up to the Queen: “Your majesty! The thing women really want is... to have their own way!”
Queen Guinever smiled, then so did the many other women in the hall... they proclaimed proudly “That’s it!” & asked querulously, “How did he guess?”
Sir Leo had passed the test!
While everyone else was indulging themselves in the feast, he rode back to the forest. He asked the Loathley Lady what she wanted him to do.
“Marry me!” she replied in a grumpy, snappy voice.
Leo turned white.
However, he’d given his word. That same day, he & the Loathley Lady were wed.
That evening, the Lady turned to her husband. “I can be both beautiful & ugly, but you have to choose. Do you want me fair by night & foul by day? Or foul by night & fair by day?”
Leo Bobby Jim knew exactly what he wanted, but he remembered what he had learned so recently. “Dear wife,” he said, “you must choose. I want you to have your own way.”
When she heard his answer, the Loathley Lady smiled broadly. Sir Leo ghasped! She was no longer a decrepit old hag... but a beautiful young lady! The tone of her voice had changed to a beautiful, clear musical lilt; a twinkling sparkle had grown in her gaze; her broad, cheerful, contented smile lit up the trees; she was beautiful from the core — her heart — out.
“Dear Leo,” she explained, “I was cursed by a rapist & bound under psychiatric compulsion — but your kindness has freed me completely!”
“This is who I really am, the Lady Susan; now I can stay this way for ever!”
A door clattered open, a young man & two cheerful girls burst into the room. “Our mother can...” the young man confirmed, “...&... thank you!”
I’m beginning to view the word “coincidence” very suspiciously. I’ve met my own Susan, who is not at all loathely but has in recent years been through the scratch-n-dent bin of life. I can trust her absolutely, which is a refreshing change.
WRT coincidence, the number of such with this lady is amounting to colossal. Accepting the scientific definition for “impossible,” to be less odds than one in ten-to-the-fifty (1:1050), let me drop a trivial example before you, one of literally hundreds: our birthdays are one day apart.
Walk into a crowd, pick a person, what are the odds of you being born within one literal day (not just day-of-the-year) of them? One in a thousand covers a little under 3 years; one in ten thousand covers about 27 years, so let’s call it one in ten thousand as a reasonable approximation. 1046 left to go... after one coincidence.
Let’s call a typical coincidence one in a thousand. 17 incidents later, what you have is officially impossible. Squared. At 20, it’s not just cubed but beyond tesseracted. I can sit down & easily list out 30, maybe even 60 such incidents. I don’t just dream the impossible dream, I swap jokes with her! (-:
For those who like a few details, her surname is UK but ancestry mostly scattered across Europe, however the single most dominant ancestor is Pawnee, an AmerIndian group. She has blue eyes & brown hair with a tinge of red. Plus other attractive attributes which I am forbidden to list. (-:
She was also (of course) born in the Year of the Tiger, & the town of Leon in her state (about 140km away) features a Jaguar Avenue, so we have a great deal of fun with big pussycats.