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The fool on the bridge

insane person on a bridge
insane person on a bridge

One of the things I like are psychology quizzes that tell us a little about ourselves. Many of the quizzes have infiltrated other university classes in different disciplines as well.

Many classes use the quizzes or other hypothetical discussions for interaction in the classroom. I was surprised when one of the hypothetical situations for discussion purposes was presented in a french class I was taking years after I finished university.

Of course everything was presented in french and we had to discuss it is in french but I will present the hypothetical situation here in English.

Remember there are no right or wrong answers; it is just how you perceive the situation that is important. One thing I noticed though was that the story was altered a little when it was presented in french. I will note the differences when they come up.

Now for the hypothetical situation:

French version: A married couple live on one side of the river. The husband is a businessman who often is away from home because of his job. The wife is often alone and takes on a lover who lives on the other side of the river.

English version: The wife has a lover on the other side of the river and the husband is a businessman who has to go away overnight. The wife pleads with her husband to take her with him because she will be alone. The husband refuses because he has an important meeting and she would only be in the way.

The wife knew she will go to see the lover and be unfaithful if her husband leaves her alone.

The wife goes over to the lover and remains with him during the night. Of course she has to get home before her husband gets back. She starts crossing the bridge when she sees a murderer waiting on the other side. She is scared and she runs over to the boatman and asks him to take her over by ferry but he asks for more money than she has.

Rather than risk her life by trying to cross the bridge she runs back to her lover’s house and asks him for some money to take the ferry and he refuses. He tells her it is her own fault that she got into this situation. The wife crosses the bridge and then is killed.

Where the French version differs

The wife does not want to be alone so she goes to her lover. It is getting late and she knows she must go home. She wants to take the ferry but she didn’t have any money. She asks the ferryman if he would let get across without paying. She was hoping he would show compassion to a lone woman stranded in the middle of the night. But he refused to take her over if she could not pay.

She has no choice but to go back to the lover and ask him for money. He refuses to give her any. She then must cross the bridge in the middle of the night by herself. On the way she meets an insane person who murders her.

Who is responsible for this death?

Note: I do not know the English version since I was given the french one but the French version seems more logical to me.

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