If The lady or the tiger chooses the door with the lady behind it, he is innocent and must immediately marry her, but if he chooses the door with the tiger behind it, he is deemed guilty and is immediately devoured by it.
But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! What a terrible thing for him to be there! This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which it could not otherwise have attained.
Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in her nature, it is probable that lady would not have been there; but her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an occasion in which she was so terribly interested.
She knew in which of the two rooms, that lay behind those doors, stood the cage of the tiger, with its open front, and in which waited the lady. But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself.
The more we reflect upon this question, the harder it is to answer. No wonder the princess loved him! Or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance. Return to the Frank Stockton Home Page, or.
Through these thick doors, heavily curtained with skins on the inside, it was impossible that any noise or suggestion should come from within to the person who should approach to raise the latch of one of them. Did the tiger or the lady come out of the doorway?
The princess made an immediate and definite motion toward the right-hand door, and this door her lover opened directly. How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands, as she thought of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited the cruel fangs of the tiger!
If he did not correctly identify her, the Discourager would execute him on the spot. Then the gay brass bells rang forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and the innocent man, preceded by children strewing flowers on his path, led his bride to his home.
Moreover, the princess knew who the woman was, a lady who had directed amorous glances toward the young man at court, glances that—or so the princess fancied—he had sometimes returned. The moment that the case of the criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcast hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have merited so dire a fate.
No wonder the princess loved him! Batman has no hint and chooses the door that has the tiger. 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.
Now, the point of the story is this: The decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively determinate: Directly opposite him, on the other side of the enclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side.
He understood her nature, and his soul was assured that she would never rest until she had made plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other lookers-on, even to the king.
Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity? The institution was a very popular one. Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question: No matter which door the young man selected, he would have the best that could be offered.
Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived and even returned.
And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood! The princess achieved something no one had before: Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in her nature it is probable that lady would not have been there, but her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an occasion in which she was so terribly interested.
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The Lady, or the Tiger? is one of our Favorite Fairy Tales, recommended for ages 13 to adult. It was first published in The Century infirmly establishing the subtle art of the short story to captivate readers. Complete summary of Francis Richard Stockton's The Lady or the Tiger?.
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