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bree

The Pigman - The Assassin Riddle

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I just read a YA book called The Pigman by Paul Zindel.

It had a riddle/game described in it. I thought it'd share it here.

 

As to the origin of the riddle, Zindel says: "I got it from the famous playwright Edward Albee who told me about it the night he and I had a meal together. He told me he learned it in Greece."

 

Riddle (in verbatim, from the book, including the image):

 

PigmanAssassinGame_zpsd8e343ed.jpg

 

 

"I'm going to tell you a murder story, and your job is just to listen
 
There is a river with a bridge over it, and a WIFE and her HUSBAND live in a house on one side. The WIFE has a LOVER who lives on the other side of the river, and the only way to get from one side of the river to the other is to walk across the bridge or to ask the BOATMAN to take you.
 
One day the HUSBAND tells his WIFE that he has to be gone all night to handle some business in a faraway town. The WIFE pleads with him to take her with him because she knows if she doesn't, she will be unfaithful to him. The HUSBAND absolutely refuses to take her because she will only be in the way of his important business.
 
So the HUSBAND goes alone. When he is gone, the WIFE goes over to the bridge and stays with her LOVER. The night passes, and dawn is almost up when the WIFE leaves because she must get back to her own home before her HUSBAND returns. She starts to cross the bridge but sees an ASSASSIN waiting for her on the other side, and she knows if she tries to cross, he will murder her. In terror, she runs up the side of the river and asks the BOATMAN to take her across the river, but he wants fifty cents. She has no money, so he refuses to take her.
 
The WIFE runs back to the LOVER's house and explains to him what the predicament is and asks him for fifty cents to pay the BOATMAN. The LOVER refuses, telling her it's her own fault for getting into the situation. As dawn comes up, the WIFE is nearly out of her mind and dashes across the bridge. When she comes face to face with the ASSASSIN, he takes a large knife and stabs her until she is dead.
 
Now, on a piece of paper (or in your head), list the names of the characters in the order in which you think they were most responsible for the WIFE's death. Just list WIFE, HUSBAND, LOVER, BOATMAN, and ASSASSIN in the order you think they are the most guilty."
 
Don't read the spoiler, until you know your "list"!
 

 

 

Here is what each person represents. The list is supposed to be an indication of your priorities (starting from the first one being of most importance) -

 

Wife = Fun
Husband = Love
Lover = Sex
Assassin = Money
Boatman = Magic
 
:D - Well, it is a YA book!

 

Even without the "interpretation" in the spoiler, I thought it made a good way to find out how our mind perceives a situation and whom we blame.

 

So if you understand what I'm rambling on about :D, and played along, do post your list please :)

Edited by bree

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My list is: HUSBAND, ASSASSIN, WIFE, LOVER, BOATMAN. It's interesting to think about.

 

 

I think that the interpretation matches me quite well. Love I consider the most important, though I would switch money and fun. Not sure what to do with 'magic'.

 

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Mine was:

 

WIFE, BOATMAN, HUSBAND, LOVER, ASSASSIN

Edited by bree

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I assumed the husband had paid the assassin to kill the wife, that's why I would blame him.

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Assassin, wife, lover, boatman ....not husband.

 

(why didn't she just go up river further and swim? it doesn't look a very wide river) :roll:

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wife, boatman, lover, assassin, husband

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Mine was:

 

1. Assassin and Wife

2. Lover

3. Boatman

4. Husband

 

1. Assassin and Wife - Assassin because he's the one directly responsible for the physical act of murder, and the wife because if she had just been faithful she never would have put herself in this position. They're both to blame, and I really don't know who I'd blame more. The assassin's deed is far more blame-worthy, but if he's only doing his job...

2. Lover - because he is aware of the situation and the most immediately able to help, but chooses not to.

3. Boatman - because he is only doing his job, and I'm assuming he hasn't been informed about the assassin as the story doesn't mention it.

4. Husband - Not to blame at all, he did nothing wrong, it's not his responsibility to ensure his wife is faithful.

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My thinking was similar Nollaig.

The assassin is the prime cuprit, he was the murderer, she would still be alive if it wasn't for him.

 

The wife secondly because she chose to cross the river and take the risk of being murdered.  She could have stayed safe on the other side even if it meant her husband finding out she was being unfaithful.

 

The lover thirdly because he had a responsibilty to help her (I think anyway).

 

Fourthly the boatman, she told him of her predicament but he chose not to help.

 

And I don't think the husband is responsible at all because it's not clear if he's even aware that his wife is unfaithful while he is away. And as you say, Nollaig,  it's not his responsibilty to ensure his wife is faithful by taking her with him everywhere.

 

But even without the attached meanings, it's very interesting how people see the responsibilty quite differently and the reasoning behind their answers.

 

(You're not trying to psychoanalyse us here Bree, are you ???? :giggle: )

Edited by poppy

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Oh no!

 

I think my answers were more in line of - who could have prevented the crime - rather than who I blame.

And that's why the "wife" is the first one for me, and the assassin the last one.

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Death is all around us. Everyone will die one day some are lucky and comeback to life but for others like one of the main characters in the story
it’s not their lucky day. The Pigman by Paul Zindle I think is a greatread and a book that should be shared with others. Death is one of themain themes in the story and right from the start not even reading thefirst chapter you know the pigman is going to die.

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