Francis Richard Stockton (1834-1902)
The Lady and the Tiger , in the past popular and famous, but today the forgotten novel (1884) by Francis Stockton, american novelist, which subject is a riddle. Some ruler (master) fell on idea of original punishment for criminals. He placed sentenced on the stage adjacent to the wall with two doors. A hungry tiger for one door waited, for second - a pretty girl. The convict had to choose, and according to this as it pretended him to happen, finished in tiger's stomach or on the wedding carpet. Once time, king catches some young man on courtships to his daughter, beautiful princess, and he sentenced him on the usual test. Princess managed to ask for which doors the tiger was placed this time, for which was meanwhile the girl. In her soul fought, however, conflicting emotions: compassion for the young man and envy about the girl who would have to marry him. In last moment young man peeped on her and noticed insignificant movement of her head which shew him proper the door. He unlocks the door without hesitation. And the tale ends here with the question: "What did appear in the open door - the girl or the tiger?" This question be reflected in whole America with a loud echo. Nevertheless the author, after many times approached, did not want to betray his answer. It with time entered to current speech as a proverbial expression.