Sergeant of the Law was "full rich of excellence.
and of great reverence.
" He was a very busy man, but, like many of us
to-day, "he seemed busier than he was."
was talking one evening of
prisons and prisoners, and at length made the following
that which I have been saying doth
orsooth call to my mind that this
morn I bethought me of a riddle that I will now put forth."
produced a slip of vellum, on which was drawn the curious plan that is
"Here," saith he, "be nine dungeons, with a prisoner in
dungeon save one, which is empty.
prisoners be numbered in order,
7, 5, 6, 8, 2, 1, 4, 3, and I desire to know how they can, in as few
moves as possible, put themselves in the order 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
prisoner may move at a time along the passage to the dungeon that
doth happen to be empty, but never, on pain of death, may two men be in
any dungeon at the same time.
may it be done?
If the reader makes
rough plan on a sheet of paper and uses numbered counters, he will find
it an interesting pastime to arrange the prisoners in the fewest
there is never more than one vacant dungeon at a time to be
moved into, the moves may be recorded in this simple way: