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The Japanese Ladies And The Carpet


Three Japanese ladies possessed a square ancestral carpet of considerable intrinsic value, but treasured also as an interesting heirloom in the family. They decided to cut it up and make three square rugs of it, so that each should possess a share in her own house.

One lady suggested that the simplest way would be for her to take a smaller share than the other two, because then the carpet need not be cut into more than four pieces.

There are three easy ways of doing this, which I will leave the reader for the present the amusement of finding for himself, merely saying that if you suppose the carpet to be nine square feet, then one lady may take a piece two feet square whole, another a two feet square in two pieces, and the third a square foot whole.

But this generous offer would not for a moment be entertained by the other two sisters, who insisted that the square carpet should be so cut that each should get a square mat of exactly the same size.

Now, according to the best Western authorities, they would have found it necessary to cut the carpet into seven pieces; but a correspondent in Tokio assures me that the legend is that they did it in as few as six pieces, and he wants to know whether such a thing is possible.

Yes; it can be done.

Can you cut out the six pieces that will form three square mats of equal size?

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