Thinking Outside the Box – B1

Level: B1 - Intermediate

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There once was a Japanese shopkeeper named Emon who owed a sum of money to the bank, but he couldn’t pay. The owner of the bank, who was in love with Emon’s daughter, offered the shopkeeper a choice.
“Your daughter Airi is a very beautiful girl,” said the banker. “If she agrees to marry me, I’ll forget your debt.”
The shopkeeper was horrified. The banker wasn’t a handsome man and he was too old to marry a young woman. When Airi refused, the banker said, “If you won’t marry me, I’ll throw your father into jail.”
The young woman began crying. The banker said to Emon, “Listen to my suggestion. I’ll put a black and white stone into a sack. Your daughter must close her eyes and choose a stone. If she chooses the white one, she gets to go home and I’ll renounce your debt. But, if she picks the black one, she has to marry me and you have to pay your debt.”
Emon was upset. He covered his eyes. “I don’t know what to do” he thought.
The banker bent down, picked up two stones from the path and put them quickly into the sack. Airi, who was watching him, saw that both stones were black. What a dishonest man! she thought.
“Don’t worry,” Airi said to her father. “I’ll do the bet.”
Airi reached into the sack and picked up a stone. As she pulled her hand out, she dropped the stone deliberately onto the stony path. Which stone was Airi’s? It was impossible to know.
“Oh, silly me!” said Airi. “I’m so clumsy.”
The banker was annoyed. He frowned at Airi and her father but as he opened his mouth to speak Airi interrupted.
“It’s not a big deal” she said. “Just take a look inside the sack. There’s only one stone left and it’s the black one. So, I obviously chose the white one. We win the bet! I can go home and you’ll renounce my father’s debt.”
*to think creatively