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Monday, February 2, 2015

Bread And Water

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bread and water riddle
The unforgiving heat of the desert sun was unbearable. Nearing total exhaustion, Alek the Polish traveller stumbled ever onwards through the endless expanse of sand. His camel had fled, his water reserves were long exausted, and there was not even a lizard to catch for sustenance -- not that he would have had the energy to catch it in any case. All he had left with him were the clothes he wore, eight golden coins, and his need for food and water.

He collapsed, looked up and thought that the sun had had the better of even his eyes; he saw two bedouins walking towards him. Mirages, he thought. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes to clear it, but the bedouins were still there, getting closer. When they reached him, Alek weakly asked for water and some food, and promised he would repay them generously.

They introduced themselves as Azad and Mohammed. "Water," one of them said, "is free." As far as food was concerned, they would share with him, which consisted of bread only. Azad had three slices, and Mohammed had five. They put the slices together, split them in three equal parts, and each of them ate his portion quietly. When they finished their meal, Alek pulled out his eight golden coins, and set them before the bedouins, telling them to share them fairly. He thanked them for saving his life, promised to call them sometime, and with renewed energy continued his journey.
When the traveller was gone, the two bedouins looked at the eight golden coins for a little while, and then Mohammed moved his hand to grab five coins.

"Hold it there!" said Azad. "We will share them as good friends; four coins each!"

Mohammed was convinced he deserved five coins, but Azad would not agree, and the argument grew louder. Before the first punch was thrown, the Great Sage happened to be passing by on his camel. He enquired about the matter, which was quickly explained by the bedouins.

"Neither 5 - 3 nor 4 - 4 are fair," stated the Great Sage, before sharing his wisdom.

The bedouins got their fair share of the coins, and the Great Sage went on his way, satisfied that yet another problem had been resolved.

How much did each of the bedouins get?

Bread And Water Puzzle Solution

Each slice of bread was divided into 3 equal pieces, making a total of 24 pieces. These were then divided between the three men, 8 pieces each.

Mohammed had 5 slices, and so contributed 15 pieces. He ate 8 pieces himself, so 7 were eaten by Alek.

Azad had 3 slices, which contributed 9 pieces. Azad ate 8, leaving 1 piece for Alek.

Therefore, Mohammed gave 7 pieces of bread away, and Azad only gave 1 piece. So Mohammed deserves 7 gold coins and Azad only 1. If he were smarter or less greedy, Azad should have accepted Mohammed's initial offer of 5 - 3.