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The Two Errand Boys


A country baker sent off his boy with a message to the butcher in the next village, and at the same time the butcher sent his boy to the baker. One ran faster than the other, and they were seen to pass at a spot 720 yards from the baker's shop. Each stopped ten minutes at his destination and then started on the return journey, when it was found that they passed each other at a spot 400 yards from the butcher's. How far apart are the two tradesmen's shops? Of course each boy went at a uniform pace throughout.


All that is necessary is to add the two distances at which they meet to twice their difference. Thus 720 + 400 + 640 = 1760 yards, or one mile, which is the distance required. Or, put another way, three times the first distance less the second distance will always give the answer, only the first distance should be more than two-thirds of the second.

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