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Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race

Page: 152

The King’s Search

Ashamed and humiliated, the king rode away, but not back to Carlisle—he would not return home till he had fulfilled his task; so he rode east and west and north and south, and asked every woman and maid he met the question the churlish knight had put to him. “What is it all women most desire?” he asked, and all gave him different replies: some said riches, some splendour, some pomp and state; others declared that fine attire was women’s chief delight, yet others voted for mirth or flattery; some declared that a handsome lover was the cherished wish of every woman’s heart; and among them all the king grew quite bewildered. He wrote down all the answers he received, and sealed them with his own seal, to give to the churlish knight when he returned to the Castle of Tarn Wathelan; but in his own heart King Arthur felt that the true answer had not yet been given to him. He was sad as he turned and rode towards the giant’s home on New Year’s Day, for he feared to lose his liberty and lands,


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