Once upon a time there was a king who had a very beautiful daughter. The king did not want to give her in marriage, because he was told that, somewhere on the planet, there is a man much smarter than him, who is destined to first take his daughter as his bride, and then take his whole kingdom. Therefore, the king came up with a test for all possible suitors.
He put two stones in one casket. The one who would pull from the casket a stone with a red mark must lose his head. The one who would pull out a stone with a blue mark will get his daughter as his wife. At first, a lot of people were very interested. Each of them believed in his own happiness, and each of them was willing to risk his head for the hand of the princess.
However, only few tried to pull out the right stone, and all of them failed to do so. The rest, seeing the futility and the danger of the test, were discouraged and gave up.
After a while, when it seemed that no one had any desire to try the test, a young man came and asked for the casket. He grabbed a stone out of it and quickly threw it into the sea. Then he firmly grasped the hand of the princess. The king was surprised:
– Well, well, well… Not so fast! You just threw the stone! How are you so sure that you pulled the one with the blue label? Can you prove it?
– Yes, I can. – answered the young man. – Just pull out the remaining stone from the casket. If it has a red mark on it, then I threw out the one with the blue mark.
And indeed – there was a stone with a red mark in the casket. The king had no choice, but to give his daughter to the young man, who proved to be smarter than him. Because only the king knew that both stones in the casket – were marked with red… giving the suitors no chance to survive.
- Fate is fate, but it doesn’t hurt to have a brain either.
- Teleshov N. D. Short Stories. Folktales. Legends. M., 1980.