One Christmas the Abbot offered a prize of a large
silver, to be engraved with the name of the monk who should put forth
best new riddle.
This tournament of wit was won by Brother Benedict,
curiously enough, never before or
after gave out anything that did not
excite the ridicule of his brethren.
It was called the "Frogs' Ring."
A ring was made with chalk on the floor of the
thirteen compartments, in which twelve discs of wood (called "frogs")
were placed in the order shown in our illustration, one place being
The numbers 1 to 6 were painted white and the
numbers 7 to 12
The puzzle was to get all the white numbers where the black ones
were, and vice versa.
The white frogs move round in
one direction, and
the black ones the opposite way.
They may move in any order one step at
time, or jumping over one of the opposite colour to the place beyond,
just as we play draughts to-day.
The only other condition is that when
all the frogs have changed sides, the 1 must be where the 12 now is and
the 12 in the place now occupied by 1.
The puzzle was to perform the
in as few moves as possible.
How many moves are necessary?
I will conclude in the words of the old
"These be some
riddles which the monks of Riddlewell did set forth and expound each to
the others in the merry days of the good Abbot David."