Friday, September 23, 2011

MIRACLE OF MATHEMATICS - The Story of 17 Camels and 3 Sons

17 Camels and 3 Sons
An Apocryphal Story of a Miracle of Mathematics

I read apocryphal story of this miracle of mathematical wisdom long back:

A man owned seventeen camels. This was his total property.

When he died he left behind three sons.

In his will he wrote that his property should be divided as follows:

He bequeathed Half [1/2] his property to his eldest son, One-third [1/3] his property to his second son and One-ninth [1/9] his property to his youngest son.

The sons were in a quandary wondering how to divide 17 camels into half, one-third and one-ninth parts. [Strictly as per the specified ration it worked out to be 8.5 camels for the eldest son, 5.67 camels for the second son and 1.89 camels to the youngest son]

They went to the Wise Man for advice.

“No problem!” said the Wise Man. “Add my camel to yours and now how many camels do you have?”

“Eighteen camels,” they all said.

“Good,” the Wise Man said.

He looked at the eldest son and said, “Your share is half the total camels – half of eighteen works out to be nine – so take your nine camels and go away.”

Nine camels remained. [18 – 9 = 9]

Then he looked at the second son, “Your share is one third the total camels – one third of eighteen works out to be six – so take your six camels and leave.”

Three camels remained. [9 – 6 = 3]

Finally he looked at the youngest son, “Your share is one ninth the total camels – one ninth of eighteen works out to be two – so take your two camels and leave.”

When the youngest son took his share of two camels and went away, only one camel remained, the Wise Man’s camel. [3 – 2 = 1]

The Wise Man took his camel and walked home, having successfully divided the seventeen camels amongst the three sons as decreed in their father’s will.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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1 comment:

Uma Anandane said...

Well I do remember reading this story long back in Birbal story .You have narrated it well here in your owns words .Nice