Many attempts were made to
induce the Haberdasher,
who was of
to propound a puzzle of some kind, but for a long time without
At last, at one of the Pilgrims' stopping-places, he said that he would
show them something that would "put their brains into a twist like unto
As a matter of fact, he was really playing off a practical
joke on the company, for he was quite ignorant of any answer to the
puzzle that he set
He produced a piece of cloth in the shape of a
perfect equilateral triangle, as shown in the illustration, and said,
there any among ye full wise in the true cutting of cloth?
I trow not.
Every man to his trade, and the scholar may learn from the varlet and
wise man from the fool.
Show me, then, if ye can, in what manner this
piece of cloth may be cut into four several pieces that may be put
together to make a perfect square."
Now some of the more learned
of the company found
a way of
doing it in
five pieces, but not in four.
But when they pressed the Haberdasher for
the correct answer he was forced to admit, after much beating about the
bush, that he knew no way of doing it in any number of pieces.
Francis," saith he, "any knave can make a riddle methinks, but it is
them that may to rede it aright."
For this he narrowly escaped a sound
But the curious point of the puzzle is that I have found that
the feat may really be performed in so few as four pieces, and without
turning over any piece when placing them together.
The method of doing
this is subtle, but I think the reader will find the problem a most