A Lateral Thinking Test For You to Solve!

Could You Think of a Solution?

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a female village moneylender. The female Moneylender, who was old, fat and ugly, fancied the farmer's handsome son, Cliff.

So she proposed a bargain. She said she would forego the farmer's debt if she could marry his son. Both the farmer and his son were horrified by the Proposal.

So the cunning female moneylender suggested that they let Providence decide the matter. She told them that she would put a black Pebble and a white pebble into an empty moneybag. Then the son would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

  • If he picked the black pebble, he would become her husband and his father's debt would be forgiven.
  • If he picked the white pebble he need not marry her and his father's debt would still be forgiven. 
  • But if he refused to pick a pebble, his 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 she picked them up, the sharp-eyed son noticed that she had picked up two Black pebbles and put them into the bag. She then asked the son 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 son? If you had to advise him, what would you have told him? A careful look would produce three possibilities:

  • The son should refuse to take a pebble. 
  • The son should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a lying, backstabbing female cheat. 
  • The son should pick a black pebble and sacrifice himself in order to save his 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 son's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if he chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the son to do?

Before you look at the answers, think this carefully through and email your solution to us. We will include your version on the answer page if it really works as a solution.

Email this page to a friend. Suggest other lateral thinking tests to add to this page.

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