New Delhi: We have all learnt rhymes in our childhood. Those rhymes had some hidden lessons and joy in them. While there are some rhymes which have a brain-teasing puzzle hidden inside the lines. Poetry can be tricky and there have been witty puzzles designed in form of poems, be it in the times of Amir Khusrao.
Here is a famous rhyme from Mother Goose which is actually a logical and mathematical problem. Check out the rhyme and try to solve a simple, yet tricky question.
As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Every wife has seven cats
And every cat seven kittens
Kittens, cats, sacks and wives
How many were going to St Ives?
What do you need to answer?
Now, when you know the rhyme and the conditions, try to answer the following question-
The question is in the rhyme itself, how many of them were going to St Ives?
2801 or just 1.
Here the answer looks much trickier than the question itself. There can be two situations. In situation number one, a man has seven wives, who have seven sacks. So the number of sacks = 7×7 = 49. Every sack has seven cats, so the number of cats = 49×7 = 343. Every cat has seven kittens, so the number of kittens = 343×7 = 2401. So the total number of the ones travelling to St Ives is 1+7+49+343+2401= 2801. But here is a catch, the person narrating the story is also going to St Ives so the total number od 2802.
In situation number two, the man along with his wives and others were going in the opposite direction, and then only one person, that is the narrator, is going to St Ives.
* The puzzle is authored by Vikas Khatri (V & S Publishers).