Drawbridge Dilemma
Copyright ©2019 by Paul Niquette. All rights reserved.


As he was departing for a visit to his outlying districts, the baron warned his young wife: “Do not leave the castle or else I shall punish you severely when I return at dawn!”


The castle was situated on an island in a fast-flowing river. A drawbridge linked the island to the mainland at the narrowest point in the river.

By and by, the baroness became bored. 
Despite her husband's warning, she decided to visit her paramour, who lived in the countryside nearby. 
The baroness ordered the drawbridge to be lowered and walked across.


After pleasant hours with her paramour, the baroness returned to the drawbridge, only to find it blocked by a madman.  He wildly brandished a dagger. “Do not attempt to cross the drawbridge,” he shrieked, “for I must kill you!”


Fearing for her life, the baroness rushed back to her paramour and asked him for help. He shook his head and frowned. “Our relationship is strictly romantic,” he said. “I am not obliged to protect you.”


The baroness then sought out a boatman on the river and, after describing her plight to him, she asked to be taken across in his boat.  “I will do that – but only if you pay me a fee of five drachmas.”


“But I have no money with me!” the baroness protested.


The boatman shrugged.  “Too bad for you.  I cannot give free rides.”


Her fear growing, the baroness ran to the home of a friend and, after tearfully explaining her situation, she begged for a loan of five drachmas to pay the boatman his fee.

“If you had not disobeyed your husband, you would not be in such trouble,” said the friend. “I will not lend you any money.” 


With dawn approaching and her last resource exhausted, the baroness rushed back to the drawbridge in desperation and was slain by the madman.

There are six characters identified in the story...

[1] baron, [2] baroness, [3] boatman, [4] friend, [5] madman, [6] paramour.

Who is most responsible for the death of the baroness?