It seems that it
was Friar Andrew who first
managed to "rede
of the Tiled Hearth.
" Yet it was a simple enough little puzzle.
square hearth, where they burnt their Yule logs and round which they
such merry carousings, was floored with sixteen large ornamental
When these became
cracked and burnt with the heat
of the great fire, it
was decided to put down new tiles, which had to be selected from four
different patterns (the Cross, the Fleur-de-lys, the Lion, and the
but plain tiles were also available.
The Abbot proposed
be laid as shown in our sketch, without any plain tiles at all; but
Brother Richard broke in,—
"I trow, my Lord Abbot, that a riddle is required
of me this
then, to that which I shall put forth. Let these
sixteen tiles be so
placed that no tile shall be in line with another of the same
design"—(he meant, of course, not in line horizontally,
diagonally)—"and in such manner that as few plain tiles as
" When the monks
handed in their plans it was
found that only
Friar Andrew had hit upon the correct answer, even Friar Richard
All had used too many plain tiles.