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The Nun's Puzzle


"I trow there be not one among ye," quoth the Nun, on a later occasion, "that doth not know that many monks do oft pass the time in play at certain games, albeit they be not lawful for them. These games, such as cards and the game of chess, do they cunningly hide from the abbot's eye by putting them away in holes that they have cut out of the very hearts of great books that be upon their shelves. Shall the nun therefore be greatly blamed if she do likewise? I will show a little riddle game that we do sometimes play among ourselves when the good abbess doth hap to be away."

The Nun then produced the eighteen cards that are shown in the illustration. She explained that the puzzle was so to arrange the cards in a pack, that by placing the uppermost one on the table, placing the next one at the bottom of the pack, the next one on the table, the next at the bottom of the pack, and so on, until all are on the table, the eighteen cards shall then read "CANTERBURY PILGRIMS." Of course each card must be placed on the table to the immediate right of the one that preceded it. It is easy enough if you work backwards, but the reader should try to arrive at the required order without doing this, or using any actual cards.

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