Lady Godiva and a Forgotten Lesson about Honor

Do you recall the story of Lady Godiva?

Most people recall an image of a woman with long flowing hair, on horseback, naked. But less people are actually familiar with the legend behind the image.

In summary, the good Lady was married to a greedy tyrant who exacted painful levels of taxes from his subjects. She issued repeated pleas on their behalf, that her husband should be less overbearing and exercise pity for his subjects. He finally answered that he would agree to her request if she would ride naked through the streets—pitting her pity against her sense of personal honor and dignity. In the end she agreed to expose herself to public shame. The subjects were asked to stay indoors, and she endured the now-famous ride. According to the tale as it was told to me as a child, everyone in the district, out of respect for her generosity and sacrifice on their behalf, closed their shutters and made no attempt to take advantage of her situation, as she was, quite literally, laid bare before them. [Read more…]