It might have struck the reader that the story of
impaled on the
North Pole had no connection with the problem that followed.
of fact it is essential to a solution.
Eleven bears cannot possibly be
arranged to form of themselves seven rows of bears with four bears in
But it is a different matter when Captain Longbow informs us
that "they had so placed themselves that there were"
seven rows of four
For if they were grouped as shown in the diagram, so that three
the bears, as indicated, were in line with the North Pole, that impaled
animal would complete the seventh row of four, which cannot be obtained
in any other way.
It obviously does not affect the problem whether this
seventh row is a hundred miles long or a hundred feet, so long as they
were really in a straight line—a point that might perhaps be
the captain's pocket compass.