This blueprint is distributed to
for sure: Arthur, Ragnelle, Gawain…
probably: Guinevere, Elyzabel, Perse…
Once Upon a Time, King Arthur went hunting alone to clear his head from Guinevere’s constant complaining about their marriage when a big bad troll ambushed him, captured, and said:
“If you want to save your life, I’ll give you a chance to solve a riddle. One year and a day from now, you must appear before me, here in the woods as you are, without friends to come with you and with no weapon. If at that time you are unable to solve this riddle, no man will object that I will take your life. But if you answer the riddle correctly, there will be no battle. You must swear on your honor that you will return in one year and a day, as I have said.”
Since Arthur agreed, the troll said:
“What is that women most desire?”
Supreme King Arthur returned to Camelot and gave this riddle to all women.
“Power,” said Morgana.
“Beauty,” said Elyzabel.
“Child,” said lady Malehaut.
“Lancelot,” said Guinevere with a smirk.
“Me,” said Gawain, even though nobody asked him.
Arthur started to be desperate. On one side, he was a man of honor, but could he really leave the country with no successor and sacrifice his life? He was brooding in the forest more and more often… until he met a strange, hideous old woman. She was covered with gold and many a precious stone, but that could not cover her red face, runny nose, a mouth that was entirely too wide, teeth that were yellow and hanging. Her eyes were bleary, her neck too long, and she was shaped like a barrel.
“Good day, King Arthur,” said she. “Think of me what you will, but your life is in my hands.”
“What do you mean?” said the King.
“Of all the answers you have been told,” said the loathsome lady, “none of them will help you. Only I know the correct answer. Grant me but one thing, Sir King, and I shall tell it to you. But if not, you will face the troll and no doubt, you shall lose your head.”
“You know the troll?” said King Arthur.
“He is known,” said the vile lady. “And he has bragged to many that he has you all but conquered. But I have the answer that you seek.”
“Tell me the one thing you seek from me,” said the King. “If I can grant it, I will.”
“Very well,” said she. “There is a certain knight I wish to marry. His name is Sir Gawain. Either I marry Sir Gawain, or you must lose your head.”
So the king came back to Camelot, shared his troubles with Gawain and Gawain decided to strike a deal. “Make me your successor, king, since you have no son nor daughter anyway, and I will marry that repulsive woman. If you will ever have a child, make it a king, but if you remain childless, I will rule after you.”
And the king agreed.
King Arthur returned to the hag accompanied by Sir Gawain, and sealed the deal:
“Sir,” said Lady Ragnelle, “some men say we desire to be beautiful, or that we desire attention from many men, or that we desire to be married well. These men do not know the truth. What we desire above all else is to have sovereignty, to rule our lives as we see fit, to not be beholden to another.”
The answer was right, and the troll let the king go. Lady Ragnelle came to the court and married sir Gawain who became the center of all mockery and laughter all around the court… but only until Arthur officially proclaimed him his successor.
Later that night in their wedding chambers, Lady Ragnelle said, “Sir Gawain, now that we have wed, give me a kiss. If I were young and beautiful looking, you know very well you would not delay. I urge you to do this right now.”
He did, hiding well any repulsion he might have felt, and as he leaned back, he saw the hag turned into a beautiful maiden.
“Aye!” he cried out. “What magic is this? Are you a witch?!”
“I am your wife,” said she. “A fairy, a sister of that troll who captured king Arthur, deformed by a curse. The way you see me now, this appearance cannot stay. You have a choice. You need to choose whether you will have me in my natural form, as you see me now, by night and hideous, as you have seen me before, by day, or have me in my natural form by day and hideous at night. With the enchantment, it cannot be both. What do you choose?”
“Alas!” said Gawain, “the choice is hard. To be with you as you are now at night but not any more, that would grieve my heart right sore. But if by day you were as you seem now, then the nights would be hard, and how. So I must put the choice in your own hands. Whatever you choose, as your husband that choice will be mine as well.”
“Mercy, courteous knight! Of all earthly knights I am truly lucky you are the one who ended up as my husband, for now the evil enchantment is released completely! I can stay in my natural form both day and night. For the only thing that could release me from Gromer’s spell was if a husband granted me, of his own free will, sovereignty to choose what I wish for myself. And now, Sir Knight, courteous Gawain, you have done just that. You have granted me sovereignty, that which every woman wants above all else. Kiss me, Sir Knight!”
“Aye,” said Sir Gawain, “that I am glad to do!”