Once upon a time, in a very small Italian town called ‘Linguata’, a small businessman lived. The man was very diligent and honest but unfortunately quite poor. Eventually he owed quite a large sum of money to a to fat and fiendish loan-shark. The loan-shark was also quite old, and even unattractive in looks. As a matter of fact he fancied, the businessman’s beautiful and elegant daughter.
Being poor, the businessman was really helpless and requested for some time to gather the money. The fiendish man had a plan in mind to use the poor father’s haplessness. He offered the businessman a deal which would completely wipe out the debt that he owed him. However, the condition was that he would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s beautiful daughter. Unfortunately, this proposal was sadly met but with a look of disgust.
The loan-shark thought of being a little considerate. He placed two pebbles in a bag, one white and one black.
Then he told the girl that she would have to reach into the bag and then pick out a pebble. If it was black, then the debt would be wiped, but then the girl would have to marry him. But, if by chance, it was white, then the debt would also be wiped, but fortunately the daughter would not have to marry the loan-shark.
After the catch was told, both stood on a pebble strewn path in the businessman’s small garden. The loan-shark bent over and then picked up two pebbles. While he was picking the pebbles up, the daughter was clever and sharp enough to notice that the lone-shark had picked up two black pebbles and then placed them both into a bag. He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.
The daughter by default had three basic choices as to what she wanted to do:
- Refuse to pick any pebble from the bags.
- Take both pebbles out of the bags and then expose the loan-shark for that of cheating.
- Pick any pebble from the bag fully, knowing well that it was black and to sacrifice herself for her beloved father’s freedom.
After quite a lot of thinking, she drew out a pebble from one of the bag, and before even looking at she ‘accidentally’ dropped it amidst the other pebbles. Then she said to the loan-shark-
“Oh, I am so clumsy and careless. Never mind Sir. Just take out the other pebble from another bag and check its colour. Then we would be able to recognize which colour of pebble I had picked.”
Now, because of his trick, obviously the pebble left in the bag would be black, and inspecting the situation, the loan-shark couldn’t play, as otherwise he would be exposed. He had to play along and declare that the pebble that the girl had picked was white and thus had to clear her father’s debt without marrying her.
Moral: It is always possible to overcome any tough situation if you try to think out of the box and not give in to the only tough and dreadful options that you think you might have to pick from.
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