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Old 01-28-2009, 04:47 AM   #1
Shrek
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Cool A very amusing paradox:

A wealthy man owned a stable of 'seventeen' horses. When he died he bequeathed the horses to his three sons. The will stated that eldest son was to be given one half of the horses, the middle son was to be given one third of the horses, and the youngest son was to be given one ninth of the horses. The sons were distraught. It was clear to all that the horses could not divided in this way without making a bloody mess.

Question: How can they divide the horses as per old man's will? Give it a thought before looking at the answer!. You will be just amazed with the solution.

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Old 01-28-2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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As near as I can determine 1/2 = 9/18 and 1/3 = 6/18 and 1/9 =2/18 which equals 17/18 so you need to find another eighteenth or one horse is going to miss it's tail.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:51 PM   #3
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You got the answer. If we base it on 18 then as you said:

1/2 = 9
1/3 = 6
1/9 = 2
-------
Total 17

Which actually does it since we actually started with 17 not 18.

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Originally Posted by mercwyn View Post
As near as I can determine 1/2 = 9/18 and 1/3 = 6/18 and 1/9 =2/18 which equals 17/18 so you need to find another eighteenth or one horse is going to miss it's tail.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:49 PM   #4
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The problem is very similar to one described in the book "The Man Who Counted", by Malba Tahan, which I just learned was actually the pen name of the Brazilian author. In the book, though, the problem was to divide 35 camels in the same proportions as above, with the result that after the division, there were 2 left, not 1.

I read the book when I was a child, and could still immediately remember why the problem seemed familar.
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