Creative Ending to Well-Known Story ‘Lady or the Tiger’

Book cover for ‘The Lady or The Tiger’

Book cover for ‘The Lady or The Tiger’

My freshman classes were given the opportunity to create their own ending to the famous short story “Lady or the Tiger.” The tale famously ends on a cliffhanger, without informing readers if a princess chose to let her lover be killed or marry another woman. I was so impressed by this response by Cindy Luis-Moreno. She does a great job taking on the voice of the author, Frank Stockton, to create a believable and triumphant ending for the princess.

–Jennifer Cummings, freshman English teacher


Without the slightest pause, he went to the door on the right and opened it. He grunted and backed away as he pulled open the door, and covered his eyes as the reflection of the sun rays hit his face. The crowd held their breath as he hesitantly made his way to the crack of darkness that held his fate. His eyes softly widened as he looked into the dark room; the crowd sat forward in their seats, hoping to catch a glimpse of what could possibly be on the other side. A hush of whispers could be heard echoing through the arena as he stepped forward. A small, delicate hand emerged from its place in the shadows and found his fairly quickly. Gasps could be heard mixed with excited chatter, and as soon as they came, they left. 


The priest walked in with his tiny minions following closely behind. Not a single glance was toward the princess but instead, the soon to be married. The princess closed her eyes as she felt them start to sting. She looked forward and kept her head high, her face emotionless and cold. She expected this, of course she did. So why, why did it hurt so much? The princess opened her eyes and continued to watch. Even though it hurt her so, she didn’t want to give her father anything to show; nothing to give. Right beside her, she heard her father chuckle. The barbaric father had the nerve to laugh! To laugh at the sight of horror displayed right in front of her. His laughter enraged a fire inside her so great that it made its way into her heart and burned it away. 


The princess was brought back by the crowd cheering and clapping loudly. As she looked into her lover’s eyes, she felt her breath leave her lungs. He never once looked up at her, never thanked her, never looked at her with so much admiration before. Why is he looking at her like that? This is barbaric, she thought. She stood from her seat and quietly left as the king started to chuckle once more. 


The palace seemed to look gloomier than she remembered; her heels echoed when she walked. The princess clutched her dress and walked faster and faster until she was running toward her room. She couldn’t see. The tears became too much as she quietly let out a sob that was quickly covered by her hand. She slammed her door, not caring who heard, and slowly slid against the door to the floor with a soft thump. She hung her head as she clutched her hair in clumps. The more she cried, the more her head pounded loudly. Slowly, she looked up, eyelids half open and deep eye bags starting to make an appearance. The princess put her hands on the floor trying to ground herself and lifted her body up, but midway she slowly started to fall to the side and her vision blackened. Minutes passed. Hours maybe, she thought. She awoke to find herself right where she fell, her bedroom front door. She gripped the side of her head and stood with a sigh leaving her lips. She looked upon her bedroom window and noticed it was dark outside. She turned away and began to think. Her mind had been made up, she would simply run away! 


She paced around her large room gathering everything she needed and placed it on to her bed. As she packed her things in a hurry, she noticed water droplets on the back of her hand. She glanced at her hand, confused. She gently touched her face and looked up, a mirror stood at the other side of her room right across from her, and she noticed she was crying. She was too busy and deep in thought that she didn’t pay any notice to herself. The princess brushed this off and, as she had everything ready, she looked down and noticed she still had her puffy, big dress on. There’s absolutely no way I can escape wearing something like this, she thought. The princess turned her dresser upside down looking for something suitable. And finally after a couple minutes had passed, she found some comfortable pants, with a cozy shirt and a tight belt wrapped around her waist with some outside boots. She pulled her book bag on her shoulders, glanced at herself in the mirror once more and noticed her long beautiful hair. She looked around and found some sharp scissors under her bed. She quickly got up, took a deep breath and cut her hair to her shoulders. The princess tied it, put her hood over her head and walked over to her window, noticing how high it really was when she looked down.


The princess took a deep breath, smiled widely from ear to ear and jumped down, landing with a thud. As she ran over the fields of flowers she felt the wind flowing through her short hair, she laughed. She felt more free than she had ever felt in her whole life. Finally, away from her horrible, barbaric father, away from the rules and away from the pain of the past. She entered the woods and kept running, she was sure she heard her father yelling, but none of it mattered anymore, she was free.