Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Death or marriage

Once upon a time there was a king who had this unique way of dispensing justice. When a subject was accused of a crime, public notice was given that on an appointed day, the fate of that accused person would be decided in the king's arena. When all the people had assembled in the galleries, the king gave a signal, a door beneath him opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the amphitheatre. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the enclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial, to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased. If he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the fiercest and most cruel that could be procured, which immediately sprang upon him, and tore him to pieces, as a punishment for his guilt.

But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that his majesty could select among his fair subjects; and to this lady he was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection:

Now, the king had a lovely daughter, who was the apple of his eye and, as it happens in all these stories, a young man of low station dared to fall in love with her. Coming to know of this clandestine affair, the furious king announced that the young man would undergo the usual trial in the arena.

While the young man was facing the two doors, the princess was also torn between two emotions. If he opened the door behind which lay the tiger, he would die instantly. If he opened the door behind which lay the lovely lady chosen by the king, he would be married to her instantly – which possibility the princess found equally repulsive.

After some agonizing moments, prompted by the princess, the young man chose the door- and, lo and behold, out came not the dreaded tiger, but the lovely lady, who then proceeded to tear him apart with her claws and dug her fangs deep into his neck, instantly killing him.

That last para came from my sick mind, but- if you haven’t already- do read the original classic written by the American humorist, Frank Stockton, to find out how he has ended this story.

10 comments:

Sowmya said...

For a moment, I thought of a woman coming out and killing him too!! I like that ending. I knew I was evil like that, surprised that you are too.

Lalita said...

The story ends in suspense and I always thought it would be the tiger. Trust you to think of a twist. Evil genius, eh?

Usha said...

Not fair Raj.. email me the ending ( the real one) but only if it involves
"And they lived happily ever after"!

Raj said...

Girls, girls, girls. Why don't you simply state what your thoughts would have been, had you been in the position of the princess?

Usha said...

Well, I'd have warned that tyrranical father of mine that being an equal partner in the crime I deserved the same punishment as the young man and that I'd follow him through the same door. Or I'd give him the choice of getting us married and becoming popular.
And then everyone will live happily ever after!

Lalita said...

In the original story, she finds out which door leads to which fate. In her position, I'd have indicated the door to marriage to the young man. I'd rather have him alive and married to another than mauled to death.

Okay, call me sentimental. :)

Raj said...

Usha, careful, your tyrannical father may get you married to the lion.

Lalita, you noble soul, it's a far, far, better thing that you do than you have ever done before, eh?

mysorean said...

The only boy to comment here! hehehe...

I would rather have him chose the lion's gate. It's better to die a death at the lion's (or was it the tiger?) hands rather than get married to someone whom you don't love!

mysorean said...

*The only boy (apart from Raj of course!)

Raj said...

mysorean, everybody can't be like Sharmila Tagore, who ended up marrying Tiger, what?