"A meek endeavor to the triumph" by Sampath Jayarathna

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

brain teasers: Girl and 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
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

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?
Try to answer before scrolling down.
. ****
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.


Most complex problems do have a solution. It is only that we don't Attempt
to think.****

There's another way to solve this same problem. What if the girl ask moneylender to choose a pebble from bag? Again he dared not admit his dishonesty. If he choose black girls fathers dept payed and girls stayed, if white again girl's fathers dept payed but girl needs to go with moneylender.

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