Bridging The Ditch
(THE SQUIRE'S CHRISTMAS PUZZLE PARTY
I now did truly think that at last was I a free man, but I had quite forgot that I must yet cross a deep ditch before I might get right away. This ditch was 10 feet wide, and I durst not attempt to jump it, as I had sprained an ankle in leaving the garden. Looking around for something to help me over my difficulty, I soon found eight narrow planks of wood lying together in a heap. With these alone, and the planks were each no more than 9 feet long, I did at last manage to make a bridge across the ditch. How was this done?
Being now free I did hasten to the house of a friend who provided me with a horse and a disguise, with which I soon succeeded in placing myself out of all fear of capture.
Through the goodly offices of divers persons at the king's court I did at length obtain the royal pardon, though, indeed, I was never restored to that full favour that was once my joy and pride.
Ofttimes have I been asked by many that do know me to set forth to them the strange manner of my escape, which more than one hath deemed to be of a truth wonderful, albeit the feat was nothing astonishing withal if we do but remember that from my youth upwards I had trained my wit to the making and answering of cunning enigmas. And I do hold that the study of such crafty matters is good, not alone for the pleasure that is created thereby, but because a man may never be sure that in some sudden and untoward difficulty that may beset him in passing through this life of ours such strange learning may not serve his ends greatly, and, mayhap, help him out of many difficulties.
I am now an aged man, and have not quite lost all my taste for quaint puzzles and conceits; but, of a truth, never have I found greater pleasure in making out the answers to any of these things than I had in mastering them that did enable me, as the king's jester in disgrace, to gain my freedom from the castle dungeon and so save my life.
Next: The Three Teacups
Previous: The Royal Gardens