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, was old and ugly and 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.
https://stevenfeinberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/post-generic.jpg 230 240 Steven Feinberg /wp-content/uploads/2015/02/feinberg-final-logo.png Steven Feinberg2014-06-09 03:04:502016-03-18 03:16:47Between a pebble and a hard place
The cunning money-lender suggested that they let Providence decide the matter. 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, 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 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? Under careful analysis we can see there are 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.
What would you recommend to the girl to 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 left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.’ Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed she had picked the white one.
The girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an advantageous one.
As we approach Thanksgiving, with our economic turmoil that seem to place us between a rock and a hard place remember it might only require a pebble game to win.