There were 100
pints of wine in the cask, and on
the Cellarer had stolen a pint and replaced it with a pint of
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
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
the thirtieth power of 99 divided by the twenty-ninth power of
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
of logarithms it may be quickly ascertained that the required quantity
very nearly 73-97/100 pints of wine left in the cask.
cellarer stole nearly 26.03 pints.
The monks doubtless omitted the
for the reason that they had no tables of logarithms, and did not care
face the task of making that long and tedious calculation in order to
the quantity "to a nicety," as the wily cellarer had stipulated.
By a simplified
process of calculation, I have
that the exact
quantity of wine stolen would be
A man who would
involve the monastery in a
decimals deserved severe punishment.