The Lady or The Tiger / by Frank R. Stockton. – West Paterson New Jersey, Lotus Bud Press, 2011. - 30x35 mm., oblong, np; ill.
Paper over board, title and illustration on front. Coloured illustrations. Set in Papyrus, 3.5 point. Numbered and signed copy 1/6
First published in The Century, 1882.
|From The Captain's Toll-Gate, 1903|
Stockton’s first major success arrived with the 1879 publication of Rudder Grange, a collection of stories based on a married couple and their servant. His most famous work, however, was the fable, “The Lady, or the Tiger?” which was published in 1882 by Century magazine. A man was sentenced to an unusual punishment for having a romance with a king's beloved daughter. Taken to the public arena, he is faced with two doors, behind one of which is a hungry tiger that will devour him. Behind the other is a beautiful lady, whom he will have to marry, if he finds her. While the crowd waits anxiously for his decision, he sees the princess among the spectators, who points him to the door on the right. The lover starts to open the door and ... the story ends abruptly there. Did the princess save her love by pointing to the door leading to the lady-in-waiting, or did she prefer to see her lover die rather than see him marry someone else? That discussion hook has made the story a staple in English classes in American schools, especially since Stockton was careful never to hint at what he thought the ending would be.
(After H. Collins Haydn in The Thesaurus of Book Digests).