In December 1842, a party of Texan soldiers on the Mier Expedition crossed the border seeking supplies from Mexico. Mexicans captured 176 of the soldiers and all were sentenced to be shot. Then the order was changed and it was decided instead that every tenth man would be shot. An earthen pot containing 159 white beans and 17 black beans was presented to the captured soldiers and each was instructed to draw a bean. Those who drew the black bean were to be shot; the black beans were their “death warrant.” One man noticed that the black beans seemed to be larger than the white ones and fingered the beans until he found a smaller one and drew it out. It was indeed a white bean and the lucky soldier survived.
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