Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lady or the Tiger?” as Want to Read:
The Lady or the Tiger?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lady or the Tiger?

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,069 ratings  ·  214 reviews
Two identical doors. Behind one is a blushing beauty. Behind the other, a horrible beast. Which will the young man choose, the lady or the tiger?
10 pages
Published (first published 1882)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,069 ratings  ·  214 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Lady or the Tiger?
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, short-story
Interesting, thought-provoking short story. It is up to the reader to interpret the ending.

Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, classics

This a story where the author is asking you a question to allow
yourself to verify your own moral values and character to yourself.
What would you select for the one you love?
What would you choose for yourself?
Would it be vice or virtue?
Which option you can remain with for the rest of your life?

A very entertaining read!
Mohsin Maqbool
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I HAD first read Frank Richard Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger?" in an English textbook in the late 1970s and instantly fell in love with it. It was the first short story that I had read in which the ending was left to the logical reasoning of the reader. Today I read it for the second time and loved it even more.
Stockton was the writer of the tale. However, he provides you with a head and a body, but you, the reader, are supposed to provide its tail. You could give the story a tragic ending
Ahmed  Ejaz
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, 2017
This is a first story I read in which the author is asking me what would be the ending. Isn't it interesting? I haven't read anything like this before. Or I doubt I ever would.

A man and the Princess love each other. King finds out and punishes the man for this deed. The punishment is:
There are two doors; behind one there is a tiger who will kill him if he opens it. Behind another, there is a lady with whom he will marry if he opens it.

The Princess knows which door has what. She also
**spoiler alert**

Published in 1882 by American writer Frank R. Stockton.

Here is a story that poses the question, "the lady or the tiger"? But the question is not answered. The answer is for you, the reader, to decide. And it's an answer that will expose your base emotions, even your moral character. So think about it before you answer, but answer honestly. No one but you will ever know.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a great story line with a food-for-thought ending.
Deborah Markus
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-freebie
I remember reading the phrase "the lady or the tiger" when I was barely a teenager. I think it was in a Stephen King novel or story. And I remember thinking, "Well, that's a cool saying. Now what the heck does it mean?"

It means that everybody should read this story. As stiff and florid as the prose can sometimes be, and as eye-rollingly stereotypical as the "barbarian" kingdom setting is, it's a great read with a brilliant puzzle of an ending.

Here's a sample of the writing and a basic outline of
Leah Craig
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this to help my little brother with his homework, lol, but I love it so much. Petty petty petty people. Girlfriend DEFINITELY had her lover eaten by a tiger, and you know it.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Ania by: high school
Shelves: short-stories
I remember reading this short story in high school. My whole class at the end debated passionately which door was chosen, but personally I think that part doesn't matter at all; Schrödinger's cat and all that. It's both until the choice is made, and even then it's still both thanks to quantum physics.

I think what matters most in the story is what the reader believes happened. I think that people chose the door which they would have chosen themselves in that situation. This puts a mirror right
Charles  van Buren
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Charles van Buren


5.0 out of 5 stars

Classic story

March 31, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This review is of the free Kindle edition:
A Public Domain Book
Publication date: May 16, 2012
Language: English
ASIN: B0083ZF266

Many are familiar with the question, the lady or the tiger to describe a portentous choice leading to either disaster or reward. Probably only the smaller number who have read this classic story realize that in some cases either choice leads to ruin though
Sadia Mansoor
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Never have I read a short story THIS GREAT as far as I remember! (Y)

Amazing.. purely amazing plot with a puzzling ending for the readers. We weren't told what happened in the end? Whether the handsome man choose the beautiful lady or the tiger behind one of the closed doors? Its for us to decide. Now, this is frustrating! I like and also dislike this idea of we bringing our judgement for the story. I really like ready made answers. This is the first time that an author has given us the whole
Marzieh Torabi
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Which door did the young man choose? I wouldn't know.
If I were the princess, which door would I show to my lover? The lady or the tiger? I still don't know!
Hesamul Haque
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A woman is an enigma. The intensity of her love and hatred for anyone has hardly been comprehended even by most learned philosopher of all time. It is dificult to understand what her next step of action would be. We mortals have experienced the love of a woman which emanates from our mothers and sisters but some unfortunate ones have also stumbled upon the negative emotions like jealousy and envy that have been known to colour the characteristics of a woman. Though I would be happy if the man is ...more
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having recently discovered the 19th C writer, Frank Stockton, i've been digging up what i can - and this is his most famous work, a riddle. It is clever, but it isn't the riddle itself that i enjoyed most, but his writing. It seems a blend of Gertrude Stein, Mark Twain, and my father's wit. There is such wonderful understated humor, bits of flawlessly placed absurdity, and words altered just so, throughout what i have read of Mr. Stockton's work so far - that one feels a little tipsy.

The riddle
Devlin Scott
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-companions
The Lady, or the Tiger? by Frank R. Stockton (Book Review)

Rarely will I spoil a story by giving a ‘blow-by-blow’ description. This is a rare exception.

This, simply and straightforwardly told, is the tale of a man’s fate that angered a king and encouraged his wraith by falling in love with his daughter. His guilt or innocence is determined by fate, this is the king’s clever design and either choice the accused makes, the king wins. The accused must choose a door…one houses the most vicious tiger
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a bit of a conundrum. So be warned.
Hiba Arrame
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
"And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door,—the lady, or the tiger?"

This is one funny story, not funny as in humorous, but rather amusing. I have always had a love/hate relationship with short stories, I love them for the questions they stir in my mind, and hate them for leaving those questions unanswered. I love them for letting my imagination think of the details, and hate them for not being detailed enough.

This one is no different, there are many many questions,
Nov 06, 2011 marked it as to-read
I heard about this story on Private Practice.

Addy's talking to her therapist.

"Did you ever read The Lady Or The Tiger?"
"There's a princess, who falls in love with a Guard. Which is, you know, inappropiate. So, when her father, the king, finds out he throws the Guard into some kind of arena." She looks up at her therapist.
"Behind one door is a tiger that'll tear him to bits. Aand behind the other is a lady, with whom he'd be free to live the rest of his life.
The princess is forced
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant story, read this in school and had a great discussion with friends over the possible ending. Frank, very cleverly left it open coz as they say, A woman's heart is deep like an ocean, impossible to fathom!
Star Shining Forever
Very cool story! Still haven't figured it out!!
So, the lady or the tiger?

A great philosophical story about a human being, about our nature. One of these stories which stay with us for a long time.

I can't decide what was probably behind the door. I wish it was a lady...

Perhaps, a narration in this story can annoy young people but with passing years one takes from the story what is the best in it.
Mollie Trail
It starts out slow and sucks you in and at the end, it crashes and burns. It builds you up and lets you fall off the edge of a cliff.

*SPOILER* A man could be eaten by a tiger or married to a lady, depending on which door he opens, and Stockton never tells you which he got. He leads you to the climax and refuses you it.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read via East of the Web here.

Although the author doesn't tell us which came out of the opened door in the end- the lady, or the tiger, I think it was the tiger. But maybe that's just me. :)
Salman Khalid
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of those stories where readers are left to their imaginations to decide the ending; the decision will then reflect one's own self!
Superbly brilliant craft!
I first read this short story while in high school, and I have never forgotten it.
Soroosh Akef
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If the man knew her so well, he must have known which door she would have chosen. Whichever one, he agreed with her decision.

One cannot help but insert their personal experiences of bias to make the final choice. I probably would have been an empathetic coward and the door would have led to the damsel. However, I wanted her to choose the tiger (whether she knew the fair lady was a flirt or not). There is a dark place in all of us. If it were me, I hope I would have motioned to the tiger.

Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so short that I'm not even sure how to review it.

A king has an interesting way of punishing criminals, he places them in an arena with two doors and a choice; one opens to a tiger that will devour the criminal and the other reveals a beautiful lady ready to wed then and there. So when the lover of the princess is caught the fiercest tiger is found and the most beautiful lady is picked, all ready for his choice. However he has insider information from his lover who directs him to won
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of these brain twisters that drives you to do crazy things, like superglue your fingertips together, just to see if you can get them apart without drawing blood. I mean its a puzzle that has no real way to be solved. If you are young and selfish you will let your loved one be torn apart by a tiger, rather than let him be taken away, never to be seen again, to live and love someone else. However if you really love him you would want him to live....hopefully and choose the lady, move ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
character 1 7 Dec 15, 2013 06:57PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Thank You, M'Am
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • The Most Dangerous Game
  • The Necklace
  • The Sniper
  • The Monkey's Paw
  • The Gift of the Magi
  • The Scarlet Ibis: The Collection of Wonder
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • The Fifty-First Dragon
  • To Build a Fire
  • The Story of an Hour
  • The Interlopers (Tale Blazers)
  • Three Questions
  • Lamb to the Slaughter
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The Open Window and Other Short Stories
  • The Cactus
See similar books…
Frank Richard Stockton was an American writer and humorist, best known today for a series of innovative children's fairy tales that were widely popular during the last decades of the 19th century. Stockton avoided the didactic moralizing common to children's stories of the time, instead using clever humor to poke at greed, violence, abuse of power and other human foibles, describing his fantastic ...more