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(Money Puzzles)
As the purchase of apples in small quantities has always presented
considerable difficulties, I think it well to offer a few remarks on
this subject. We all know the story of the smart boy who, on being told
by the old woman that she was selling her apples at four for threepence,
said: "Let me see! Four for threepence; that's three for twopence, two
for a penny, one for nothing--I'll take _one_!"
There are similar cases of perplexity. For example, a boy once picked up
a penny apple from a stall, but when he learnt that the woman's pears
were the same price he exchanged it, and was about to walk off. "Stop!"
said the woman. "You haven't paid me for the pear!" "No," said the boy,
"of course not. I gave you the apple for it." "But you didn't pay for
the apple!" "Bless the woman! You don't expect me to pay for the apple
and the pear too!" And before the poor creature could get out of the
Then, again, we have the case of the man who gave a boy sixpence and
ninepence. Five minutes later the boy returned. "I have made it into
ninepence," he said, at the same time handing his benefactor threepence.
"How do you make that out?" he was asked. "I bought threepennyworth of
apples." "But that does not make it into ninepence!" "I should rather
think it did," was the boy's reply. "The apple woman has threepence,
hasn't she? Very well, I have threepennyworth of apples, and I have just
given you the other threepence. What's that but ninepence?"
I cite these cases just to show that the small boy really stands in need
of a little instruction in the art of buying apples. So I will give a
simple poser dealing with this branch of commerce.
An old woman had apples of three sizes for sale--one a penny, two a
penny, and three a penny. Of course two of the second size and three of
the third size were respectively equal to one apple of the largest size.
Now, a gentleman who had an equal number of boys and girls gave his
children sevenpence to be spent amongst them all on these apples. The
puzzle is to give each child an equal distribution of apples. How was
the sevenpence spent, and how many children were there?

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