Once upon a time, a small business owner owed a lot of money to a loan shark.
The loan shark was an elderly, unattractive man who wanted to marry a business owner’s daughter.
He decided to offer the businessman a proposal to wipe out the debt he owed him entirely. But there was a catch: we would only forgive the debt if he married the businessman’s daughter.
The loan shark stated that he would put two white and one black stone into a bag.
After that, the daughter would have to reach into the bag and select a stone. The debt would be erased if it was black, but the loan shark would marry her. If it were white, the debt would be forgiven as well, but the daughter would no longer be obligated to marry him.
The loan shark bent over and picked up two pebbles while standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden.
The daughter observed that he had picked up two black stones and placed them both in the bag.
He then asked the daughter to select one from the bag.
The daughter had three options
To do nothing
To tell him to show the stones before she selects one
To select one and merry him
She took a stone from her bag and ‘accidentally’ dropped it among the other pebbles before glancing at it.
“Oh, I’m so clumsy,” she said. “Never mind, you’ll be able to tell which pebble I chose if you look in the bag for the one that’s left.”
The pebble left in the bag is black, and because the loan-shark didn’t want to be found out, he had to pretend the pebble the daughter placed was white and cleared her father’s debt.
The moral of this story
It’s always possible to overcome a difficult circumstance by thinking outside the box and refusing to accept the limited options you believe you have.