In the year 1040, according to legend, the people of Coventry were suffering with extremely heavy taxes imposed by their lord, Leofric the Dane, in order to finance his battles. Leofric's sympathetic wife, a lovely Saxon named Lady Godiva, determined to convince him to reduce the taxes. Leofric declared that Lady Godiva was shameless to plead for "the whining serfs"; she responded by saying he would discover how honorable the serfs were. A deal was struck: Lady Godiva would ride unclothed through the streets of the city, "clad in nought but my long tresses", and if the population remained inside shuttered buildings and did not peek at her, their tax burden would be lifted. The following morning she made her famous ride and the citizens of Coventry graciously stayed inside, to spare their benefactor any feeling of shame. Leofr ic kept his word and reduced the grateful people's taxes. Today, in Europe, Lady Godiva is celebrated in countless works of art - tapestry, paintings, sculpture and literature.

Beth Brown
Godiva Chocolatier
www.godiva.com

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