The Tale of Two Pebbles

Tale of Two Pebbles



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.

1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her
father’s debt would be forgiven.

2) If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her
father’s debt would still be forgiven.

3) If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into
jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer’s field. 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 that 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 know 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
logical answers.

What would you recommend that the girl do?

Well, here is what she did. . .

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 pebbles.


“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 money-lender 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. It is only that we don’t
attempt to think or we confuse worry with constructive thinking.
There is always a way out; you just have to find it.

Have a week filled with positive thoughts and sound decisions.

Bohdi Sanders

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