Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had
the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a
village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and
ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he
proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the
farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the
farmer and his daughter were horrified by the
proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that
they let providence decide the matter.
He told them that he would put a black pebble and a
white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl
would have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she
picked the black pebble, she would become his 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
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
a pebble from the bag.
Now, imagine you were standing in the field. 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 three possibilities:
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 money-lender as a cheat.
3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice
herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.
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 above
What would you recommend to the Girl to do?
After reflecting on the possible answers,
go here for the answer.