Short stories are powerful reads. The great thing about them is that they’re very easy to digest, and there’s always something to learn from. Whether they’re true stories or not is another thing, as many of them are legends supposedly hundreds of years old. However, the stories that I’m talking about in this series (you can find more over here) are so powerful and inspirational that many of them really do get you thinking. Enjoy this thinking out of the box short story!
The loan shark
In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. But not only that, the loan-shark also was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter. He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him. However, the catch was that we would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter.
Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust. The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.
Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles. Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he’d picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.
The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:
- Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
- Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
- Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.
She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loan-shark:
Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.
The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.
The message behind this Loan Shark short story is obviously the one that promotes creating thinking and thinking out of the box. Though situations can sometimes be overcome through out of the box thinking, and not give in to the only options you think you have to pick from.
At last, I’ve been reading plenty of short stories in the past couple of weeks and found the lessons behind them truly wonderful. There’s always a moral to learn at the end of each story. If you like these kind of short stories I can come up with more each month. You can find all of them in this section.