SIR GAWAIN AND THE LOATHLY LADY
©Doug Goodkin 1990
King Arthur and his knights, a ‘hunting they did go.
They had no expectation of meeting friend or foe.
King Arthur spied a deer and went off on his own.
He rode for half a mile before he brought it down.
Dismounting from his horse, he stooped to dress his kill.
When a black knight did appear and King Arthur felt a chill.
“Well met, King Arthur,“ said the knight,“you are alone at last.
Prepare to meet thy death, for you’ve wronged me in the past.”
“What honor is that,” King Arthur said, “to kill an unarmed man?
Whatever wrong I’ve done you, I’ll right it if I can.”
“Too late for that,“the knight replied, “though ‘tis true the fight’s not fair.
I’ll make to thee a condition, if only this you’ll swear..
Return right here in a year and a say, dressed in your hunter’s green,
With the answer to this riddle or bid farewell your queen.
You may ask it of a lover, a servant or a wife.
What does a woman most desire in all this earthy life?
If you fail to answer tightly, your life belongs to me.
Yet if you answer rightly, then I will set your free.”
King Arthur gave his pledge and the black knight rode away.
The King returned to meet his knights, but not a word did say.
Sir Gawain quickly noticed, for he was a fine young lad.
And spoke to him in private, “Prithee, why so sad?”
The King revealed his secret, for Gawain he did trust.
They put their heads together, the matter did discuss.
“We shall both ride off, one East , one West and wherever thou dost goest,
Ask of everyone you see what a woman dost want most.”
(Note: A good topic of discussion with friends and family. Talk it over before reading on tomorrow)