Videos Test Yourself Books MathFacts Math Diagnostics Math Tricks Daily PhysEd
Class Photos Worksheets Insectclopedia Musiclopedia Techlopedia Teacher Timesavers Study Guides
Riddle Of The Cellarer

Answer :

There were 100 pints of wine in the cask, and on thirty occasions John the Cellarer had stolen a pint and replaced it with a pint of water. 
After the first theft the wine left in the cask would be 99 pints; after the second theft the wine in the cask would be 9801/100 pints (the square of 99 divided by 100); after the third theft there would remain 970299/10000 (the cube of 99 divided by the square of 100); after the fourth theft there would remain the fourth power of 99 divided by the cube of 100; and after the thirtieth theft there would remain in the cask the thirtieth power of 99 divided by the twenty-ninth power of 100. 

This by the ordinary method of calculation gives us a number composed of 59 figures to be divided by a number composed of 58 figures! 
But by the use of logarithms it may be quickly ascertained that the required quantity is very nearly 73-97/100 pints of wine left in the cask. 
Consequently the cellarer stole nearly 26.03 pints. 
The monks doubtless omitted the answer for the reason that they had no tables of logarithms, and did not care to face the task of making that long and tedious calculation in order to get the quantity "to a nicety," as the wily cellarer had stipulated.

By a simplified process of calculation, I have ascertained that the exact quantity of wine stolen would be

26.0299626611719577269984907683285057747323737647323555652999 pints. 

A man who would involve the monastery in a fraction of fifty-eight decimals deserved severe punishment.




Medieval Brain Teasers