Monday, March 24, 2008

A Story 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) 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-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 "Most complex problems do have a solution. It is only that we don't attempt to think."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 logical answers.

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."DONT WORK HARD...... "WORK SMART""

"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.


  1. Inspiration might also be found in another viewing of the story: A system in which an honest man like this farmer goes into great debt to a money-lender is broken and we should work to fix such a system. The solution you give to the parable does nothing to reduce the amount of pain and suffering in the community - it only makes an "evil" man suffer for his "wickedness." And this really solves nothing - he is only going to do more harm to someone else because of this. Should we not work for a greater solution?

    Also, smart is an adjective. One does not work smart. One who is smart works smartly - which isn't a word, so it should be - intelligently.

  2. thanks for your comment. i don't focus on grammar as a writer. i focus more on creativity.

  3. They should have gathered other nearby people to
    witness the drawing of the pebbles. When many
    had gathered she could have asked the wealthy
    man to pull out the 2 pebbles and illustrate to
    others the plan. If he refused then she could
    have taken the bag and emptied it into the hand
    of the most influencial and honest person in the
    gathered crowd. I would imagine this wealthy
    man may have cheated others and when they saw
    he cheated this could have brought the law down
    against him. Perhaps in his embarrassement and
    threat of legal problems he could have confessed
    and made restitution to others. Hopefully he
    could have taken this opportunity to correct his
    life and repent from his wrongs and move forward
    in honesty and love for others.


Stay Connected With Free Updates

Subscribe via Email