When Leofric the Dane was Lord of Coventry, in the year 1040, he heavily increased his taxes on the townsfolk. Then people met together and sent their chief men to implore his wife, the Lady Godiva, who was greatly beloved by them for her many gracious acts to the sick and the poor, to plead with her lord to remit some of the heavy taxes.
Accordingly Lady Godiva pleaded with her lord on their behalf, but he roughly refused, saying, "Shameless are you to plead for these base, whining serfs."
"Shameless am I? Then shameless will I be indeed, and we shall see whether these serfs be base or honorable," replied she with spirit. "For I will ride through this town, clad in nought but my long tresses, if I can thus turn you from your cruel purpose."
"Ride thus, and I yield," he replied. Lady Godiva sent out word to the townsfolk of her bargain, and on the following morning she rode from end to end of the town of Coventry, and every inhabitant remained within doors as she rode, to spare their beloved benefactor any possible feeling of shame. Leofric kept his word to his wife. The burden of the people was removed, and to this day the citizens of Coventry delight to do honor to the memory of Lady Godiva.
~ from volume 17, page 6292, of the 1941 edition of The Book of Knowledge
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