For quite a few years I taught 4th grade. Both before and after having children. ( as I gained a perspective on trying to be thin to be wanted and trying to be beautiful to be heard) This book came to me when I taught Steinbeck's King Arthur and other pieces in a theme I called "Fairy Tales." This included, by the way, a marvelous Reading Rainbow on Rumpelstiltskin and in it a visit to the Renaissance Faire in Agoura Hills. But no story, and we had great ones, was ever as well liked by my female students than this the one that poses the question Freud apparently never got around to answering, "What do women really want?"
I won't spoil it, but Sir Gawain in his nobility and loyalty marries a woman that is an outrageous hag,saving a situation for his King, he steps up in a moment when circumstances demand his "sacrifice." The illustrations here are like an ancient gilted manuscript, they are delightful, but he has an interesting surprise coming.......
something that speaks to the nature of women and what they really want.
On the question of true desire, what does she want? I have to say this has always been such genius,this story, as any woman daily grapples with the fact that her mind and her beauty are competitors, with her inner being suppressed it often can only truly blossom long after she ages into the form man no longer "wants." She holds this a lifetime. Ah...it's a good tale, to be given freedom from this, now that is a rare gift.
Great story teller, awesome illustration with at least 12 years of children finding it a book that told something that they wanted to hear.
I'd definitely gift it to our daughters and read it to our sons.