"A man I know," said Teddy Nicholson at a certain
family party, "possesses a string of thirty-three pearls.
pearl is the largest and best of all, and the others are so selected
and arranged that, starting from one end, each successive pearl is
worth £100 more than the preceding one, right up to the big
From the other end the pearls increase in value by
£150 up to the large pearl.
The whole string is worth
£65,000. What is the value of that large pearl?"
"Pearls and other articles of clothing," said
Uncle Walter, when the price of the precious gem had been discovered,
"remind me of Adam and Eve.
Authorities, you may not know, differ as to
the number of apples that were eaten by Adam and Eve.
It is the opinion
of some that Eve 8 (ate) and Adam 2 (too), a total of 10 only.
certain mathematicians have figured it out differently, and hold that
Eve 8 and Adam a total of 16.
Yet the most recent investigators think
the above figures entirely wrong, for if Eve 8 and Adam 8 2, the total
must be 90."
"Well," said Harry, "it seems to me that if there
were giants in those days, probably Eve 8 1 and Adam 8 2, which would
give a total of 163."
"I am not at all satisfied," said Maud. "It seems
to me that if Eve 8 1 and Adam 8 1 2, they together consumed 893."
"I am sure you are all wrong," insisted Mr.
Wilson, "for I consider that Eve 8 1 4 Adam, and Adam 8 1 2 4 Eve, so
we get a total of 8,938."
"But, look here," broke in Herbert. "If Eve 8 1 4
Adam and Adam 8 1 2 4 2 oblige Eve, surely the total must have been
At this point Uncle Walter suggested that they
might let the matter rest.
He declared it to be clearly what
mathematicians call an indeterminate problem.