On Wittiness and Beauty

‘Out of the box’ thinking is much appreciated and emphasized in the business world but it helps in life in general. Listen to this cute story -“Pebbles”- that was sent to me by my daughter Batel from the web site ‘motivateus.com’:

Many hundreds of years ago in a small Italian town, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly (as always in the stories…), fancied the merchant’s beautiful daughter and he proposed a bargain in order to marry her.

The moneylender told them that he would put 2 pebbles into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender’s wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the merchant’s garden, horrified by the proposal. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles but the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.
What would you have done if you were the girl?

Would you refuse to take a pebble? Would you show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a cheat? Or would you pick a black pebble and sacrifice yourself in order to save your father from his debt and imprisonment?

And the girl…  ?     she put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.
“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.”
Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an advantageous one.
(“motivateus.com” – Author unknown – Submitted by George wachirah, Kenya)

And on top of the importance of ‘out of the box’ thinking that helps to convert lemon into lemonade, I enjoyed the wittiness of the young woman. It reminded me of a similar story, I’ve just heard, also about a man that fancied a woman who didn’t want him. Itamar, a young tourist guide in Berlin, told us about Moses Mendelson, a German- Jewish Philosopher from the 18th century. While he was well educated he wasn’t an attractive looking person, to say the least. When he met Mr. Guggenheim, one of the richest people in the community, he couldn’t take his eyes off his beautiful daughter and he asked her to marry him. She didn’t like the idea. Mendelson approached her and quietly said:
“I wanted you to know that just before I was born I was called to heaven and one of the angels informed me that they were instructed to create me as a beautiful, good looking man. But I told them: “Create me ugly, please, and take all the beauty saved and transfer it in full to the woman whom I will love and cherish.” And here you are, the woman that I love and cherish.”

The young Miss Guggenheim couldn’t refuse such sacrifice, the source of her beauty; she agreed to marry him and they had 10 children. Mendelson was always so proud of the fact that it was a love marriage as opposed to an arranged marriage which was a common practice those days.

Long live wittiness….and long live beauty…     

Fireworks (66)
Shuka, Thursday, October 21, 2010

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