The character is undertaking a challenge of courage, strength or skill for some important prize. However, at a critical moment, The Hero is confronted with doing something that is morally unacceptable.
Despite being warned about a forfeit if the reprehensible act is not done, the hero reluctantly stands by the decision and accepts that the challenge is lost, expecting no credit for the deed, often not expecting anyone to know.
Alternately, the hero may be faced with a task outside of the challenge that is noble, but doing that task will force him to lose the prize — an innocent stranger to save during a heated race, for instance, or helping a competitor who had become injured rather than just running to the end himself.
However, the hero is then told that that forfeiting the challenge in this way is exactly what was needed to triumph. It was actually a test of characterand the hero has passed with flying colors. The hero seldom rejects the testerthe rewardor the whole situation on the grounds that it was an underhanded trick — and this is not only when the other character was a MentorThreshold Guardianor otherwise an authority figure, but between equals such as a Fidelity Test.
Watch for Exact Words. When a character is told that the prize depends on the "" or "outcome" rather than the success, it will be phrased in such a manner that no one would, at first glance, take it to mean anything but success, but the character saying it can point out that he is doing exactly what he said. If more than one character tried, and one succeeded in the ostensible goal but still failed the test, expect bitterness.
Sometimes, instead of refusing or doing the act, the hero will Take a Third Option. A reversal of Threshold Guardians. A Career-Building Blunder operates on a similar principle. If another character made a very different choice during the same test, they may be a Mirror Character. Old Beggar Test is a Sub-Trope involving a powerful figure disguised in rags testing the hero's moral capacities. Depressed over discovering that Max changed the route of his map, Goofy decides to give one last chance to Max to redeem himself at a junction. Sadly for him, Max sticks with his plan.
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Community Showcase More. Follow TV Tropes. You need to to do this. Get Known if you don't have an. In this commercial for Trojan condoms which was banned for good reason, it seems a young woman tests her boyfriend by convincing her sister to try seducing him. She only thinks he passes the test; the commercial seems to have been based on the first entry under "Jokes" below.
Child Ballad In The New-Slain Knighta man tells a woman of a dead knight; when she complains that her child will be fatherless, he offers to marry her, and she rejects him; he reveals that he is her love. In The Bailiff's Daughter of Islingtonshe tells her love that she is dead to test his love.
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He declares he will go into exile to avoid the place, and she reveals the truth. The English ballad " Sovay " tells of a highway robber who demands, at gunpoint, a man's ring; the man refuses, because it was a gift from his fiancee, and is surprised when the robber just leaves. The next day, the fiancee reveals that she in disguise was the robber and would have shot him if he'd handed over the ring.
Examples include John Riley and "Banks of Claudy".
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They all come to her house on the same day to get married, followed by thousand wedding guests each. Marko comes with a test: each hero would put a blanket in front on himself and put his golden et ring and a golden apple on it. Whoever's ring or apple the girl picks up she will marry. The girl doesn't touch anything and tells the following "Goodbrother Marko, Godfather Janko, The apple is 's play, the golden ring is a of a hero.
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He reveals that if she so much as touched an apple or a ring, he would have cut her head off, because she would have revealed herself as greedy and foolish wife. Comic Strips. In Calvin and HobbesCalvin would be given chances to tell the truth, but instead utterly fails big time because of his insistence that everyone will be stupid enough to believe his obvious lies.
Mom: While your dad is taking Rosalyn home, perhaps you can explain what happened tonight. Calvin: Gee, Mom, I don't know what to tell you. At eight o'clock, I brushed my teeth, put on my pajamas, and went to bed.
Nothing happened. Mom: pulls out written confession Rosalyn made him write And this? Calvin: Uh All lies!
She made me do that just to get me in trouble! None of that's true! I went straight to bed! Fairy Tales. In " The Serpent " and " The Three Sistersthe king has promised that who cures the prince may marry him.
He is cured by a woman but refuses because he is already married. The delighted woman reveals that she is his wife. Her sisters, who refused him, are so envious they commit suicide, and the devil happily makes off with their souls. Some versions add a second part of the test where the suitor, after cleaning up nicely and collecting on his deal with Satan, returns and courts the youngest daughter to see if she will keep her promise or renege it in favor of she thinks a new and much more appealing match.
She passes, of course. In " Diamonds and To ", the younger daughter is willing to give an old woman a disguised Fairy a drink from the well; even warned, her older sister is unable to be polite, even though this time the Fairy is disguised as a woman of wealth and taste. Similarly, the stepdaughter is polite in The Three Little Men in the Woodsharing her food and acceding to their requests, and the daughter is not.
In " The Girl And The Dead Man " hereall three girls are offered the choice between a whole bannock flattened loaf of quick bread and their mother's curse, or half and their mother's blessing; the older two opt for the curse, and the youngest for the blessing, and only the last succeeds.
In Jesper Who Herded the HaresJesper's older brothers lie about the pearls they are carrying and find they are transformed into what they claimed them to be; Jesper tells the truth and is given a magic whistle. In "The Three Little Birds"two brothers tell a fishing woman that she won't catch fish where she is, and end up failing their quests; then, their sister tells her "May God help you with your fishing," and receives a magic wand and advice.
Girls are brought to his dwelling place, and whoever can actually see him is worthy to be his wife. Many girls including the protagonist's wicked older sisters try, some even lying. But the only one who can actually see him is a kindhearted and shy girl who goes by Oochigeaskw "Little Burnt One," or "Rough-Faced Girl," because her sisters pushed her face into the embers of their fire.
The secret test of character is more apparent in versions of this tale where all the prospective suitors before Oochigeaskw claim that they can see the invisible god and are sent away for lying, but Oochigeaskw herself admits that she cannot see him and the invisible god then shows himself to her as a reward for her truthfulness.
In The Golden Goosethe little old man who asks for food will determine whether they succeed or fail. In another of Grimms' fairy tales, some kids have watched the adults slaughter a pig, think this is worth imitating, and slaughter a younger. That's why smart farmers send their kids on a Snipe Huntbut we digress. All the adults are upset, of course, but they can't agree whether the kid is really guilty or not. Then, one wise man comes up with a solution: He offers two gifts to the kid, an apple and a golden coin, and tells the kid to choose one of them.
The kid immediately takes the apple, and he explains: The kid is still naive, and thus innocent; but if the kid had taken the coin instead, this would have proved the guilt, since the kid must have had enough experience with the world to know that killing is wrong. In one Grimm story "Choosing a Bride" or "The Cheese Test"a young man goes courting and meets three girls of appropriate age and social status, and is unable to choose between them.
His mother suggests to serve each cheese with the rind still on, and watch how they eat it. The first girl eats the cheese rind and allrevealing that she is gluttonous and lazy.
The second girl takes a knife and chops off the rind, but also a lot of the good cheese, revealing that she is wasteful and careless. The third trims off the rind without wasting any cheese, proving that she is attentive and hardworking.
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So he gathers a full horse cart of plums and moves through the village, shouting "Plums for trash". People hear about the crazy man and start bringing him buckets of dust, trash, wood fillings and all sort of garbage. Finally, a young girl brings him barely a fist of dust from her house and asks him if it is worth at least one plum. He asks her why she didn't bring him more dust. The answer? I don't have any in my house. She is the one who the son marries, because she has proven herself to be hardworking and clean. Whitmore gives Milo Thach the Shepard's Journal at his late grandfather's request.
Whitmore considers the idea of Atlantis to be a hoax and the journal useless, with or without Milo's linguistic talents. As he continues to shoot down Milo's ideas of an expedition and pointing out how no one will help him, Milo explodes and affirms he'll find Atlantis even if he has to do it alone in a row boat. Whitmore then smiles and congratulates Milo; Seeing his determination convinces Whitmore to go forward with fully funding a large scale expedition to find Atlantis.
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He says that as Milo, Kida, and their group know about him, he must kill them so they never give away his secret. He says he will spare them if they tell him one of their own secrets Atlantisbut Milo decides not to. The spirit spares them, saying they understand the importance of keeping a secret, and lets them go. Goofy employs one on Max in A Goofy Movie. The two eventually come on a junction where going left on would lead to what Max wants, and going right would lead to what Goofy wants.