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The Frogs Who Would A-wooing Go


While we were vainly attempting to solve this puzzle, the Professor arranged on the table ten of the frogs in two rows, as they will be found in the illustration.

"That seems entertaining," I said. "What is it?"

"It is a little puzzle I made a year ago, and a favourite with the few people who have seen it. It is called 'The Frogs who would a-wooing go.' Four of them are supposed to go a-wooing, and after the four have each made a jump upon the table, they are in such a position that they form five straight rows with four frogs in every row."

"What's that?" asked Hawkhurst. "I think I can do that." A few minutes later he exclaimed, "How's this?"

"They form only four rows instead of five, and you have moved six of them," explained the Professor.

"Hawkhurst," said Grigsby severely, "you are a duffer. I see the solution at a glance. Here you are! These two jump on their comrades' backs."

"No, no," admonished the Professor; "that is not allowed. I distinctly said that the jumps were to be made upon the table. Sometimes it passes the wit of man so to word the conditions of a problem that the quibbler will not persuade himself that he has found a flaw through which the solution may be mastered by a child of five."

After we had been vainly puzzling with these batrachian lovers for some time, the Professor revealed his secret.

The Professor gathered up his Japanese reptiles and wished us good-night with the usual seasonable compliments. We three who remained had one more pipe together, and then also left for our respective homes. Each believes that the other two racked their brains over Christmas in the determined attempt to master the Professor's puzzles; but when we next met at the club we were all unanimous in declaring that those puzzles which we had failed to solve "we really had not had time to look at," while those we had mastered after an enormous amount of labour "we had seen at the first glance directly we got home."


This is one of those puzzles in which a plurality of solutions is practically unavoidable. There are two or three positions into which four frogs may jump so as to form five rows with four in each row, but the case I have given is the most satisfactory arrangement.

The frogs that have jumped have left their astral bodies behind, in order to show the reader the positions which they originally occupied. Chang, the frog in the middle of the upper row, suffering from rheumatism, as explained above in the Frogs and Tumblers solution, makes the shortest jump of all—a little distance between the two rows; George and Wilhelmina leap from the ends of the lower row to some distance N. by N.W. and N. by N.E. respectively; while the frog in the middle of the lower row, whose name the Professor forgot to state, goes direct S.

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