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Weekly Moral Stories
Story of Two Pebbles
Many years ago in a small Chinese village, a farmer called Feng 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 Mei. So he proposed a bargain.
He said he would forgo the Feng's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer
and his daughter Mei were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-
1. If Mei 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. 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 farmer's field. As they talked,
the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-
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. Mei should refuse to take a pebble.
2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the
3. Mei should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and
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 Mei should do?
Well, here is what she did ....
The daughter put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking
at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-
"Oh, how clumsy of me," Mei 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-
Moral of the Story:
Most complex problems do have a solution. It is only that we don't attempt to think. Start your day with this thought provoking story and have a nice day.
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