Most people have heard of Godiva - a popular brand that specializes in making chocolates. What most people don't know, however, is the scandalous story behind the image representing the brand. Its controversial logo depicts a naked woman riding a horse bareback, taken from an old Anglo-Saxon legend. According to the myth, Lady Godiva was an 11th-century noblewoman who was so angered by rising taxes that she decided to ride through the streets of England naked to catch people's attention. She certainly got what she set out for. More than just chocolatiers remember the Lady Godiva legend. To this day, artists are still replicating the event in paintings and sculptures (Lady Godiva is a very popular figure in art. It gives artists the rare opportunity to paint or sculpt both a naked woman and a horse - two of the most popular subjects.)
So what really happened? Apparently, Lady Godiva's husband, Leofric, was the man raising the taxes. The people were infuriated with his decision, but no matter how much they pled, Leofric didn't budge. Even his wife asked him over and over again to lessen the amount, threatening to show herself off to the public on horseback if he didn't listen. Assuming that his wife would back down, Leofric stood his ground. Always the risk-taker, Lady Godiva didn't break her promise to the people.
She took off her clothes and mounted her horse bareback before taking off into the streets. It would've been daring enough if she did this during the dead of night - but Lady Godiva is no wimp. She walked her steed - stark naked - in the middle of the day, in a very crowded English city. Talk about body confidence.
Even more surprising is that, according to legend, only one person saw her. You might have heard of him: his name is Tom. Peeping Tom. That's where the expression "peeping Tom" comes from. Apparently, the citizens shut their windows when Lady Godiva rode past, but Peeping Tom stuck his head out into the streets and, as a punishment, was struck either blind, deaf, or both (for some reason, no one can seem to remember what happened to the poor guy).
In the end, Lady Godiva's trick turned out to be a success. The taxes were lowered, her husband was humbled, and the people were overjoyed. It just goes to show you - riding a horse naked is not always bad. (After all, Kate Upton did the same thing, and now appears to be quite the celebrity).
You might not believe it, but according to historians, this myth is actually true. Everything that happened is fact, save for Lady Godiva's name. In the real story, she was called Godifu.
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