What Do Women Want?

Once upon a time there was Knight of the Round Table who got lost in the woods and ended up drinking from a sacred water well owned by an old Crone (the archetypal figure of the wise woman in many cultures). After the Knight drank from her well, the old Crone demanded that the Knight marry her. He begs for another option, so she says, “You don’t have to marry me if you answer this question: “What do women want?”

The Knight being a very smart man, spends a year interviewing many women in the kingdom to get his answer. Then he meets again with the Crone. He reports “women want children, property, gold, and to be loved”. But the Crone says, “No, that’s not it. Now you have to marry me.”

Being an honorable guy, the Knight sees through his duty. He marries the Crone (much to the amusement and dismay of other people in the Kingdom). That night, she says, “Come, kiss me.” When he does, she turns into a beautiful Woman. The Knight is overjoyed! But then the Woman says, “I can only stay like this half the time. So you choose: Would you rather have me be a hag while we are out in public or being beautiful at night with you in bed? Or do you want me looking gorgeous during the day and then turn into a hag at night?”

The Knight begins to sweat and contemplates the question for some time. Then he replies, “It is your choice. You decide.” At that moment, the spell was lifted completely. The Woman says, “That’s what women want, women want to make their own choices And now we both can be free of this curse.” Naturally, the Knight and Woman were both thrilled and lived out the rest of their days and nights together.

What’s the moral of the story?
Both the Knight and the Crone were under an unconscious spell. First, the Crone-Woman had to rally for her own self respect and then solicit this from her Knight. Also, the Knight needed to learn how to lift his part of the enchantment. First, by marrying her in spite of her appearance and second, by honoring her own freedom of choice.

The Knight and the Crone exist within each of us. Their lessons in becoming more conscious are universally applicable. 1) We can learn to give respect to others beyond their appearances. 2) We teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves and 3)When we honor our freedom of personal choice, we can give others that same freedom.

**adapted from the work of Jack Kornfield.

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