# Sharing Tuskers

## Main Question or Discussion Point

This was a real life problem solved by 'Appaji' Prime Minister of Vijayanagara kindom. He was selected at the age of 6(and then went through rigorous training) when he solved two puzzles viz., making a line smaller without erasing it and getting a sword which was kept at the other end of a long carpet without stepping on it. Apart from gauging the intelligence, the two problems also gauge some essential characteristics a prime minister should possess(during those times). He proved to be one of the great primeministers of India(as strong as Bismark and as wise as King Solmon)

The problem goes....

A merchant had 17 elephants. He called his three sons to his death bed and asked them to share those elephants in a way that the first son should get 1/2 of them, the second one should get 1/3rd of them and the third one 1/9th. All elephants should be alive even after sharing them. The fighting started after the merchant's demise and the issue was taken to Appaji's court. The wise man thought a while and then solved it.

PS: There is no cut to cut solution for this but there is a way out.

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Yegor has it pinned.

Add one more elephant so N = 18
N/2 = 9
N/3 = 6
N/9 = 2
9+6+2 = 17 and the 1 elephant is returned back

-- AI

I guess this could work

Here it is :(in white)
The three fractions 1/2, 1/3, 1/9 add up (mysteriously) to 17/18. So to divide the elephants, he should add one more elephant, and then split them into 9, 6 and 2 elephants, then remove the added elephant. This works since (18/2 + 18/3 + 18/9) equals 17. Weird huh?

Oops, I guess I was a bit late. I didn't read the other answers earlier. Anyway, what I'd like to know is how he solved the other two puzzles?
My guess:
1. He either made the paper move at a comparable speed to that of light(just joking:rofl: ) OR he cut the paper in half.

2. He obviously pulled the carpet towards himself OR told someone to bring the sword to him.

Last edited:
Isn't this from a Tenali Raman tale?

ssj5harsh,
The solution to the first problem is to draw a line longer than the first one alongside it.

Oh, I just didn't realize that.

neutrino said:
Isn't this from a Tenali Raman tale?
Apparently

-- AI

Adding in the extra elephant was quite cute. However, it didn't solve the problem. What is the solution to the problem?

Yes, he solved it by adding extra elephant and finally took it back. That is why I said there is no cut to cut solution.

The line problem was already solved.

He just rolled the carpet down to the swearing in sword and took it. This proved that the boy had a character to bend down to face hard problems(and also infront of king). Intelligent prime ministers are always a threat to the kings.

Tenali Raman was a contemporary of Appaji and most of the stories, that take round now a days, about Tenali Raman were either exaggerated or triviliazed.

quark said:
A merchant had 17 elephants. He called his three sons to his death bed and asked them to share those elephants in a way that the first son should get 1/2 of them
of THEM man. How is 9 elephants 1/2 of 17? In this so-called solution he got 1/2 of something else. If that is a solution, then I would say give the first son 1/2 of the line, the second son 1/3 of the carpet and the third son 1/9 of the sword.

:uhh: That's a square deal, makes sense.

Regards,

jimmysnyder said:
of THEM man. How is 9 elephants 1/2 of 17? In this so-called solution he got 1/2 of something else. If that is a solution, then I would say give the first son 1/2 of the line, the second son 1/3 of the carpet and the third son 1/9 of the sword.
While your concern is correct, but the thing is that this particular problem is taken from a tale and yes it misses out certain details. Let me narrate the tale here.

Once upon a time, there was this old wealthy merchant who had a very wise counsellor. The wealthy merchant wrote a will in which he gave his first son 1/2 of his wealth, his second 1/3rd of his wealth and his third son 1/9th of his wealth. After a few years, the old wealthy merchant got ill and soon yielded his life to it. It was upon the old wise counsellor now, to distribute the wealth to his sons. There was no problem in dividing the lands and the money among the sons, but he had a problem when it came to dividing the elephants among the sons. The merchant had 17 elephants. This put the counsellor in a fix. The counsellor thought for a while and then went to big market, where they sold elephants. He bought an elephant on behalf of the merchant. So legally, this elephant was merchants wealth. The number of elephants now became 18, which he then distributed among the sons. The remaining elephant was then sold and this money was again distributed among the sons. Thus everyone lived happily ever after. <curtains closed, claps arose, the kids are awed by the counsellor's intelligence and we live with a sole consolation that our land had such intelligent people once upon a time>. THE END

This particular tale has been told for years to kids as puzzles, riddles or simply a tale of how a human can tackle the most toughest of the problems and make the solution give a feel of satisfaction to everyone. (yes we are trained to be statisticians from our birth, you got a problem with that :rofl:)

-- AI

how abut the line ?

ArielGenesis said:
how abut the line ?
neutrino got it in message 6 of this thread.

oooh, there is just no confirmation that it is the correct one. thx