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A story to think about. Like whether or not this really does spell “horse“?

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I was afraid to call this story “A man’s secret to a good life“, so I will just blog the story…and you decide!

Several hundred years ago, a king and his men conquered a nearby village. From the village, they brought back the young people to the kingdom to serve the king.

The king recognized one man as having great mental and physical skills, that could be helpful to the kingdom. Those same skills could also be a threat to the kingdom. So, he offered the young man his freedom if he could answer a long-pondered question. The king said to the man, “Akim, I will give you one year to think about my question and come up with an answer, or I will consider you a threat to my kingdom and have you put to death .

The king paused and then asked the question, “What do women really want?”

The young man did not know the answer. This scared him. But, he knew that he had to come up with the answer within a year. He set out to speak with as many in the kingdom as possible. He wanted to poll everyone to come up with the right answer.

Initially, he was given many different answers. Some of the answers included wealth, happiness and security. He thought that they were good answers, but not the right answer. He was continually advised to go speak to an old lady who lived in the deepest part of the forest. Some even described her as a witch. He put off going to see her.

The man became concerned that his deadline was getting closer and that he still did not have the right answer. He had no choice but to go talk to the “witch”. When he went deep into the forest and knocked on her door, her appearance shocked him when she answered the door. But, she agreed to answer the question, if he was willing to agree to her price. He agreed because he saw no other choice. Her price was that she wanted to marry Salim, who was considered the most handsome man in all the land. He was also Akim’s closest friend.

Akim did not know how he could even ask his friend to marry her. She was hideous. She was toothless; she smelled horrible and even whistled when she breathed in and out. He could not bring himself to even talk about it with his friend. But, his friend learned of Akim’s predicament and told him that he would marry her. Nothing was too great to save his friend from certain death.

The day of the wedding came. As soon as “the witch” and Salim were married, she turned to Akim and said,”What a woman really wants?”. She paused, “is to be to be able make her own decisions.”

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that this was a great truth and that Akim would be set free.

That night after the wedding had ended and Salim went home to find his new bride, he found the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.  Salim was truly shocked. He asked whether it was really her. This beautiful lady assured him it was her. She went on to tell him that because he had been so kind to her when she appeared so ugly, from now on she would appear as her horribly deformed self only half the time. The other half, she would be beautiful as he saw her now.

But, he had to decide whether the 50% ugly was during the day or at night? Salim did not know how to answer. As a beautiful woman during the day, he could be with her and also show her off to his friends. She was so beautiful! But, that would also mean that in the privacy of their home, she would be an ugly witch? Or, would he prefer…  hideous witch during the day; with a beautiful woman at home at night.

Salim decided he wanted her to make the choice. When she heard his decision, she then told him that she would be beautiful 100% of the time because he had respected her enough to let her decide.

When the storyteller told this story, he added, “remember to let her decide, or things might get ugly!”

I hope you have a great weekend and a time to reflect on Memorial Day. May we all live life with great meaning!

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