the Merchant the poet writes, "Forsooth he was
a worthy man
He was thoughtful, full of schemes, and a good manipulator of
reasons spake he eke full solemnly. Sounding away the increase of
morning, when they were on the road, the Knight and
Squire, who were riding beside him, reminded the Merchant that he had
yet propounded the puzzle that he owed the company.
He thereupon said,
"Be it so? Here then is a riddle in numbers that I will set before this
merry company when next we do make a halt. There be thirty of us in all
riding over the common this morn.
may ride one and one, in what
they do call the single file, or two and two, or three and three, or
and five, or six and six, or ten and ten, or fifteen and fifteen, or
thirty in a row.
In no other way may we ride so that there be no lack
equal numbers in the rows.
Now, a party of
pilgrims were able thus to
ride in as many as sixty-four different ways.
Prithee tell me how many
there must perforce have been in the company."
The Merchant clearly
required the smallest number of persons that could so ride in the