THE BASKET OF POTATOES.
A man had a basket containing fifty potatoes. He proposed to his son, as
a little recreation, that he should place these potatoes on the ground
in a straight line. The distance between the first and second potatoes
was to be one yard, between the second and third three yards, between
the third and fourth five yards, between the fourth and fifth seven
yards, and so on--an increase of two yards for every successive potato
laid down. Then the boy was to pick them up and put them in the basket
one at a time, the basket being placed beside the first potato. How far
would the boy have to travel to accomplish the feat of picking them all
up? We will not consider the journey involved in placing the potatoes,
so that he starts from the basket with them all laid out.
Multiply together the number of potatoes, the number less one, and twice
the number less one, then divide by 3. Thus 50, 49, and 99 multiplied
together make 242,550, which, divided by 3, gives us 80,850 yards as the
correct answer. The boy would thus have to travel 45 miles and
fifteen-sixteenths--a nice little recreation after a day's work.