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Polaris AB: The Fable Collection of Short Stories
Lady Godiva was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman born around 990 AD. She was married to Leofric, Earl of Mercia, the largest of the six English Kingdoms which now cover the area called the Midlands. Both were great benefactors of the Church and devout Christians founding a large Benedictine Monastery and benefiting several other monasteries and churches throughout the region, during Leofric's noble leadership between 1032 until his death in 1057 AD.
During this time, it fell upon Earl Leofric to raise taxes from his people in the form of a 'heregeld' or army tax that was needed to pay for and fund a militia army to defend against overseas raids from the Norse men / Vikings. As the growing demands for this began to impose heavily on the lives of the citizens, Lady Godiva, feeling compassion for the people, appealed to her husband to lift the burden of taxation to relieve the suffering it was creating.
Undeterred by her pleas, he mocked her saying -
"You would have to ride naked through the streets of Coventry to persuade me to lift this tax from the people".
Taking him at his word, Lady Godiva swore to herself and to God that she would complete the task.
In order to preserve her modesty, she issued a proclamation to the townspeople of Coventry, telling them of what she was about to do and appealed to their sense of decency, that at midday, all were to stay inside and lock the doors and bolt the windows, so that no eyes would lay upon her naked form as she passed by them riding on a horse.
She then rode through the streets with only her long hair partially covering her body. The town folk had done as she had asked and all windows and doors remained shut during her entire journey - all apart from one.
A Tailor named Tom could not resist taking a look as she passed by, peeping out through a crack in the window. The appeal to his sense of decency overcome by his curiosity to see the noble Lady Godiva riding naked upon a horse. On doing so, it is said, that he became instantly blinded, unable to continue his craft and from that moment onwards becoming known as Peeping Tom (the name now given to wanton acts of voyeurism).
And so the noble women had turned an immoral display of public nudity into a heroic act of compassion by overcoming her virtuous modesty and decency. History does not record whether her actions were effective and whether her husband did indeed lift the taxes from the people, even if for a short while in honour of his words to his wife.
We find that Decency embodies the moralistic behaviours of courtesy, manners, kindness, consideration, virtuosity, honour, compassion , charity, politeness, modesty, humility, courage and valour. It cannot be taught but it can be demonstrated by those who live with its angelic qualities flowing through their deeds, actions and words.
And the Moral of the Story is:
We only truly expose our nakedness when decency shows us, we have nothing left to hide.