Thinking Outside the Box – B2

Level: B2 - Upper-Intermediate

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There once was a Japanese shopkeeper named Emon who had a bank loan he couldn’t pay. The owner of the bank, who was in love with Emon’s daughter, proposed a deal.
“I find your daughter Airi very attractive,” said the banker. “If she agrees to give me her hand, I’ll forgo your loan.”
The shopkeeper was taken aback. The banker wasn’t a very good-looking man and he was far too old to marry a woman as young as Airi. When Airi refused, the banker replied, “If you don’t agree to wed me, I’ll have your father imprisoned.”
The young woman began sobbing. The banker said to Emon, “Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll choose two pebbles; one white and the other black and I’ll put them into a sack. Your daughter must close her eyes and pick out a pebble. If she picks the white one, she gets to go home and I’ll forgo your debt. But, if she picks the black one, she has to marry me and you have to pay your debt.”
Emon was distressed. He covered his eyes in despair. “What am I supposed to do?” he thought.
The banker bent down and picked up two pebbles from the pebble-strewn path. Airi who was watching him carefully noticed that he’d picked two black pebbles instead of one of each colour. He’s cheating! she thought.
“Don’t worry about it,” Airi said to her father. “I’ll take on the bet.”
Airi dipped her hand into the sack and picked out a pebble. As she withdrew her closed fist, she dropped the pebble deliberately onto the pebbly path. Which was Airi’s pebble? There was no way of knowing.
“Oh, I’m such a butter-fingers!’ said Airi.
The banker was annoyed; he was sure that Airi had dropped the pebble on purpose but as he opened his mouth to speak, Airi cut him off.
“Never mind,” she said, “if you look inside the sack for the one that’s left, you’ll be able to tell which pebble I picked. We win! I’m going home with my father and you’ll forgo his bank loan.”
*to think creatively