A Fractured Fairy Tale and a Moral Guessing Game

Howard Pyle illustration from the 1903 edition of The Story of King Arthur and His KnightsOnce upon a time in a place you’ve never heard of, a young man seeking fame and fortune and a beautiful wife had the bad fortune to get sucked into a Ponzi scheme which left him penniless.

Rather than die of starvation and exposure, he agrees to marry an ugly crone for her money. He pretends, of course, that this is a noble act; that he, in fact, is giving her a gift by overlooking her hideous countenance.

On their wedding night, he returns from his dressing room to find a beautiful maiden in his bed. Immediately, he leaps into bed with her, whereupon she wallops him in the noggin.

“Hey! Aren’t you curious where your wife is?”

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