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The Four Princes


The dominions of a certain Eastern monarch formed a perfectly square tract of country. It happened that the king one day discovered that his four sons were not only plotting against each other, but were in secret rebellion against himself. After consulting with his advisers he decided not to exile the princes, but to confine them to the four corners of the country, where each should be given a triangular territory of equal area, beyond the boundaries of which they would pass at the cost of their lives. Now, the royal surveyor found himself confronted by great natural difficulties, owing to the wild character of the country. The result was that while each was given exactly the same area, the four triangular districts were all of different shapes, somewhat in the manner shown in the illustration. The puzzle is to give the three measurements for each of the four districts in the smallest possible numbers—all whole furlongs. In other words, it is required to find (in the smallest possible numbers) four rational right-angled triangles of equal area.

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