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Storytelling is a powerful tool to spur thinking. It is the one technique that bypasses the resistance of a person and opens an opportunity to get across a lesson.


I have lifted a story, and slightly modified it, from the post of a friend, Doug Constant. This beautiful story  distinguishes lateral thinking from logical thinking. Read and enjoy!


In a small village, a farmer owed a large sum of money to a banker. The ruthless and evil banker adored the farmer’s daughter and proposed a bargain. He would forgive the debt if he could marry the daughter.

He told them that he would put a black and a white pebble into a bag for the girl to blindly pick:

  • Black pebble: marry the banker and the debt forgiven
  • White Pebble: don’t marry the banker and the debt forgiven
  • Refusing to pick: her father will be thrown into jail

The evil banker bent over and picked up 2 black pebbles and put them in a bag, but the girl saw him cheat. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.


What Logical Thinking Options Does The Girl Have?

  • Refuse to take a pebble
  • Expose the man as a cheat
  • Pick a black pebble to save her father from his debt and jail

The clever lateral thinking girl put her hand into the bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she ‘fumbled’ and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it became lost.

“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.

The girl’s lateral thinking saved both him and her father from the evil banker.




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