Great Story and Unexpected Ending Commentary
- I'm posting this just as I received a minute ago in an email.
Thanks, John for the wisdom.
Thinking "Out of the Box"
Many hundreds of years ago in a small Italian town,
a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large su
m of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who
was old and ugly, fancied the merchant's beautiful
daughter so he proposed a bargain. He said he would
forgo the merchant' debt if he could marry the
merchant's daughter. Both the merchant and his
daughter were horrified by the proposal. The cunning
money lender suggested that they let providence
decide the matter.
The moneylender told them that he would put a black
pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The
girl would then have to pick one pebble from the
bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would
become the moneylender's wife and her father's debt
would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble
she need not marry him and her father's debt would
still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick a
pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the
merchant's garden. As they talked, the moneylender
bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked
them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had
picked up two black pebbles and put them into the
bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble
from the bag.
Now, imagine you were standing in the merchant's
garden. What would you have done if you were the
girl? If you had to advise her, what would you
have told her? Careful analysis would produce
1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.
2. The girl should show that there were two
black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender
as a cheat.
3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice
herself in order to save her father from his debt
Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above
story is used with the hope that it will make us
appreciate the difference between lateral and
logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be
solved with traditional logical thinking.
Think of the consequences if she chooses the
What would you recommend the girl do?
The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew
out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled
and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where
it immediately became lost among all the other
"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind,
if you look into the bag for the one that is left,
you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."
Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be
assumed that she had picked the white one. And
since the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty,
the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation
into an extremely advantageous one.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Most complex problems do have
a solution, sometimes we have to think about them
in a different way.
P.S. Go EAGLES !!!