Bear News Beartown News

MARCH 1, 2001


When an old Beartown farmer grew ill and knew that he would soon die, he called his three sons into his room.
"There is no way I can divide the house and farm to support all three of you. The one who proves himself the cleverest will inherit the house and farm. There is a coin on the table for each of you. The one who can buy something that will fill this room will inherit all I own."

The eldest son took his coin, went straight to the marketplace, and filled his wagon full of straw. The second son thought a bit longer, then also went to the marketplace, where he bought sacks and sacks of feathers. The youngest son thought and then quietly went to the general store and bought two small items and tucked them into his pocket.
That night the father called them in to show what they had bought. The eldest son spread the straw about the floor, but it filled only one part of the room. The second son dumped out his sacks of feathers, but they filled only two corners of the room. Then the youngest son smiled, pulled the two small items from his pocket, and soon filled the room.
"Yes," said the father, "you are indeed the cleverest and have filled my room, when the others could not. You shall inherit my house and farm."
What had the youngest son bought and with what did he fill the room?

How did the youngest son do this? Check the next issue of Beartown News for the answer.

LAST ISSUE'S SOLUTION: 1/2 plus 1/3 plus 1/9 does not equal one or all of anything. The Constable used their common denominator, which was eighteen, and changed the fractions to 9/18 plus 6/18 plus 2/18 which equaled 17/18. So by borrowing the eighteenth horse the Constable created a situation that matched the fractions.


Copyright 2000 Claude Dern, All Rights Reserved
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