A famous story about choice determining personality. Written by Frank Stockton
, it details a semibarbaric king, his country and his peculiar criminal justice
system. He solved capital crime
s by putting the accused in an arena
with two identical doors. Behind one door, there was a lady
, and if the accused picked that door they were married immediately. (The problem of female criminals was not addressed) Behind the other door there was a tiger
, and those who picked the tiger were devoured on the spot. So the problem was solved either way.
Now nearly every story demands conflict, and the conflict in this tale came from the king's daughter. Her lover was discovered, and condemned to the arena. Impossibly, the princess knew which door held the ferocious tiger, and which door held her bitterest and most hated rival, a lady who she feared had designs on her lover. She could not stand it if her lover came to be with her. The princess was in the arena, being semibarbaric herself, and the lover glanced up to her, asking which door. She had already had gone over the decision before the day of the arena. Quoting:
"Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semibarbaric futurity?
And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood!"
Without hesitation, she told him, and without hesitation, he opened the door. Quoting again from the story here...
"The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered, and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door - the lady, or the tiger?"
Argument raged around the decision. It got so bad that Frank Stockton finally just said "If you decide which it was - the lady or the tiger - you find out what kind of person you are yourself." Personally, I believe - well, you can guess. But what about you?
What's your decision - the lady, or the tiger?