find that there was a cook among the company;
services were no
doubt at times in great request, "For he could roast and seethe, and
broil and fry, And make a mortress and well bake a pie."
One night when
the pilgrims were seated at a country hostelry, about to begin their
repast, the cook presented himself at the head of the table that was
presided over by the Franklin, and said, "Listen awhile, my masters,
while that I do ask ye a riddle, and by Saint Moden it is one that I
cannot answer myself withal.
be eleven pilgrims seated at this
board on which is set a warden pie and a venison pasty, each of which
truly be divided into four parts and no more.
Now, mark ye, five out of
the eleven pilgrims can eat the pie, but will not touch the pasty,
fourwill eat the
pasty but turn away from the pie.
Moreover, the two
that do remain be able and willing to eat of either.
By my halidame, is
there any that can tell me in how many different ways the good Franklin
may choose whom he will serve?
will just caution the reader that if
is not careful he will find, when he sees the answer, that he has made
mistake of forty, as all the company did, with the exception of the
of Oxenford, who got it right by accident, through putting down a wrong
to say, while the company perplexed their
the cook played upon them a merry jest.
In the midst of their deep
thinking and hot dispute what should the cunning knave do but
take away both the pie and the pasty.
when hunger made them
to go on with the repast, finding there was nought upon the table, they
called clamorously for the cook.
"My masters," he explained, "seeing you were so
deep set in
the riddle, I
did take them to the next room, where others did eat them with relish
they had grown cold.
be excellent bread and cheese in the pantry."