Free Love – 2, by V.O. Ruzov (translated)

Romeo and Juliet statue

“What do women really want?” was the question posed to King Arthur. From time immemorial, not only astrologers but also kings seem to have grappled with this problem. King Arthur had an incentive to find an answer, and his captor was also interested in that. Throughout the whole year a painstaking survey was conducted, but no one could give a meaningful response. For a simple fool anything is simple and clear. But a wise person always gets to the root of the problem, to the heart of the matter, and is never satisfied with superficial response. Was it the first psychological testing on Earth? Maybe we can celebrate that year as the founding of psychology?

Finally the King was given the clue that there lived an old witch in the kingdom. She could possibly provide an answer. King Arthur had no alternative but to visit her, although he knew: chances were that he would have to pay dearly. Witches are not too pleasant to deal with. They give you a warm welcome, but then they make dinner out of their own guests.

So remember: when guests come to see you and you ply them with food and drink, but only to rail against them later, accuse of something, coax the rumor out of them – this is no good. If the master of the house is fiercely critical of the whole world, critical of the guests and makes them do something for him, this is witchy behavior. No one would like to visit such home again. They’ll avoid it like the plague. Your guests are good – don’t you dare “eat” them”!

Ready for austerity, King Arthur went to the witch’s hut for a visit. “Little hut! Turn your back on the forest floor and turn to face me with your door!” He asked the crone what she wanted to get for the correct answer. But she wasn’t that simple. The witch wanted to marry his best friend – the head knight of the country. She was a witch all right, a very ugly old witch who had only one tooth and was scary to look at. King Arthur didn’t want his friend to be engaged in that spooky story. He said he’d rather suffer death himself. Everyone would be better off then. Nevertheless, as soon as his friend knew the value of the matter, he came in great hurry and said that Arthur’s life was dear to the whole kingdom, and as a true knight, he was ready to marry an ugly old witch. That was quite a loyalty to the affairs of the state!

Pleased with the turn of events, the witch answered Arthur’s question. She said that women want to be masters of their own life and manage their lives on their own. Everyone was slightly astonished at the simplicity of the answer. But king’s life was saved, and that was the most important thing. Everyone rejoiced at the lucky event and thanked the knight for his sacrifice for king’s sake.

The day of the wedding came. The knight was a true gentleman. He tried his best to endure his witch’s abominable behavior. It was as disgusting and shocking as behooved a true witch. No one would or could look at her without a shudder. But a promise was a promise: it couldn’t be helped! The wedding night came. The knight entered the bedroom with utmost reluctance. There and then, he was stunned by what he saw. He saw the most beautiful woman he could ever imagine. Being amazed, the knight asked how it could happen. Transformed witch said that in recognition of his positive attitude to her when she was frightful and ugly, she would now agree to be half-time a young maiden, half –time an old witch.

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