Long ago, in the very olden time, there lived a powerful king. Some of his ideas
were progressive. But others caused people to suffer.

One of the king's ideas was a public arena as an agent of poetic justice. Crime
was punished, or innocence was decided, by the result of chance. When a person
was accused of a crime, his future would be judged in the public arena.

All the people would gather in this building. The king sat high up on his
ceremonial chair. He gave a sign. A door under him opened. The accused person
stepped out into the arena. Directly opposite the king were two doors. They were
side by side, exactly alike. The person on trial had to walk directly to these
doors and open one of them. He could open whichever door he pleased.

If the accused man opened one door, out came a hungry tiger, the fiercest in the
land. The tiger immediately jumped on him and tore him to pieces as punishment
for his guilt. The case of the suspect was thus decided.

Iron bells rang sadly. Great cries went up from the paid mourners. And the
people, with heads hanging low and sad hearts, slowly made their way home. They
mourned greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have
died this way.

But, if the accused opened the other door, there came forth from it a woman,
chosen especially for the person. To this lady he was immediately married, in
honor of his innocence. It was not a problem that he might already have a wife
and family, or that he might have chosen to marry another woman. The king
permitted nothing to interfere with his great method of punishment and reward.

Another door opened under the king, and a clergyman, singers, dancers and
musicians joined the man and the lady. The marriage ceremony was quickly
completed. Then the bells made cheerful noises. The people shouted happily. And
the innocent man led the new wife to his home.

This was the king's method of carrying out justice. Its fairness appeared
perfect. The accused person could not know which door was hiding the lady. He
opened either as he pleased, without knowing whether, in the next minute, he was
to be killed or married.

The king had a beautiful daughter who was like him in many ways. He loved her
above all humanity. The princess secretly loved a young man who was the
best-looking and bravest in the land. But he was a commoner, not part of an
important family.

One day, the king discovered the relationship between his daughter and the young
man. The man was immediately put in prison. A day was set for his trial in the
king's public arena. This, of course, was an especially important event. Never
before had a common subject been brave enough to love the daughter of the king.

The king knew that the young man would be punished, even if he opened the right
door. And the king would take pleasure in watching the series of events, which
would judge whether or not the man had done wrong in loving the princess.

The day of the trial arrived. From far and near the people gathered in the arena
and outside its walls. The king and his advisers were in their places, opposite
the two doors. All was ready. The sign was given. The door under the king opened
and the lover of the princess entered the arena.

Tall, beautiful and fair, his appearance was met with a sound of approval and
tension. Half the people had not known so perfect a young man lived among them.
No wonder the princess loved him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the young man entered the public arena, he turned to bend to the king. But he
did not at all think of the great ruler. The young man's eyes instead were fixed
on the princess, who sat to the right of her father.

From the day it was decided that the sentence of her lover should be decided in
the arena, she had thought of nothing but this event.

The princess had more power, influence and force of character than anyone who
had ever before been interested in such a case. She had done what no other
person had done. She had possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew
behind which door stood the tiger, and behind which waited the lady. Gold, and
the power of a woman's will, had brought the secret to the princess.

She also knew who the lady was. The lady was one of the loveliest in the
kingdom. Now and then the princess had seen her looking at and talking to the
young man.

The princess hated the woman behind that silent door. She hated her with all the
intensity of the blood passed to her through long lines of cruel ancestors.

Her lover turned to look at the princess. His eye met hers as she sat there,
paler and whiter than anyone in the large ocean of tense faces around her. He
saw that she knew behind which door waited the tiger, and behind which stood the
lady. He had expected her to know it.

The only hope for the young man was based on the success of the princess in
discovering this mystery. When he looked at her, he saw that she had been
successful, as he knew she would succeed.

Then his quick and tense look asked the question: "Which?" It was as clear to
her as if he shouted it from where he stood. There was not time to be lost.

The princess raised her hand, and made a short, quick movement toward the right.
No one but her lover saw it. Every eye but his was fixed on the man in the

He turned, and with a firm and quick step he walked across the empty space.
Every heart stopped beating. Every breath was held. Every eye was fixed upon
that man. He went to the door on the right and opened it.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered. And it is not
for me to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it
with all of you:

Which came out of the open door the lady, or the tiger?