“A husband and wife named Raoul and Marie lived in a house beside a river next to a forest. One afternoon Raoul told Marie that he had to travel to Paris overnight on business. As soon as he left, Marie paid the Ferryman one franc to row her across the river to the house of her lover Pierre. Marie and Pierre made lover all night. Just before dawn, Marie dressed to go home, to be sure that she arrived before Raoul returned. When she reached the Ferryman, she discovered that she had neglected to bring a second franc for her return journey. She asked the Ferryman to trust her; she would pay him back. He refused: A rule is a rule, he said.
“If she walked north by the river she could cross it on a bridge, but between the bridge and her house a Murderer lived in the forest and killed anybody who entered. So Marie returned to Pierre’s house to wake him and borrow a franc. She found the door locked; she banged on it; she shouted as loud as she could; she threw pebbles against Pierre’s bedroom windows. Pierre awoke hearing her but he was tired and did not want to get out of bed. “Women!” he thought. “Once you give in, they take advantage of you…” Pierre went back to sleep.
“Marie returned to the Ferryman: She would give him ten francs by midmorning. He refused to break the rules of his job; they told him cash only; he did what they told him…Marie returned to Pierre, with the same lack of result, as the sun started to rise.
“Desperate, she ran north along the riverbank, crossed the bridge and entered the Murderer’s forest…
“”Which of the characters in this story is morally most responsible for Marie’s death?””
- The Ferryman
- The Murderer