The Boy, the Girl, the Ferryboat Captain, and the Hermits There was an island, and on this island there lived a girl. A short distance away there was another island, and on this island there lived a boy. The boy and the girl were very much in love with each other. The boy had to leave his island and go on a long journey, and he would be gone for a very long time. The girl felt that she must see the boy one more time before he went away. There was only one way to get from the island where the girl lived to the boy’s island, and that was on a ferryboat that was run by a ferryboat captain. And so the girl went down to the dock and asked the ferryboat captain to take her to the island where the boy lived. The ferryboat captain agreed and asked her for the fare. The girl told the ferryboat captain that she did not have any money. The ferryboat captain told her that money was not necessary: “I will take you to the other island if you will stay with me tonight.” The girl did not know what to do, so she went up into the hills on her island until she came to a hut where a hermit lived. We will call him the first hermit. She related the whole story to the hermit and asked for his advice. The hermit listened carefully to her story, and then told her, “I cannot tell you what to do. You must weigh the alternatives and the sacrifices that are involved and come to a decision within your own heart.” And so the girl went back down to the dock and accepted the ferryboat captain’s offer. The next day, when the girl arrived on the other island, the boy was waiting at the dock to greet her. They embraced, and then the boy asked her how she got over to his island, for he knew she did not have any money. The girl explained the ferryboat captain’s offer and what she did. The boy pushed her away from him and said, “We’re through. That’s the end. Go away from me. I never want to see you again,” and he left her. The girl was desolate and confused. She went up into the hills of the boy’s island to a hut where a second hermit lived. She told the whole story to the second hermit and asked him what she should do. The hermit told her that there was nothing she could do, that she was welcome to stay in his hut, to partake of his food, and to rest on his bed while he went down into the town and begged for enough money to pay the girl’s fare back to her own island. When the second hermit returned with the money for her, the girl asked him how she could repay him. The hermit answered, “You owe me nothing. We owe this to each other. I am only too happy to be of help.” And so the girl went back down to the dock and returned to her own island.
1. List in order the characters in this story that you like, from most to least. What values governed your choices?
2. Rate the characters on their level of moral development. Explain.
3. Evaluate each character’s level of courage. Discuss.