The Reve was a wily
man and something of a
"There was no auditor could of him win," and "there could no man bring
him in arrear."
The poet also noticed that "ever he rode the hindermost
of the route."
This he did that he might the better, without
interruption, work out the fanciful problems and ideas that passed
through his active brain.
When the pilgrims
were stopping at a wayside
tavern, a number of cheeses of varying sizes caught his alert eye; and
calling for four stools, he told the company that he would show them a
puzzle of his own that would keep them amused during their rest.
placed eight cheeses of graduating sizes on one of the end stools, the
smallest cheese being at the top, as clearly shown in the
"This is a riddle,"
quoth he, "that I did once set before my fellow
townsmen at Baldeswell, that is in Norfolk, and, by Saint Joce, there
was no man among
them that could rede it aright.
And yet it is withal
full easy, for all that I do desire is that, by the moving of one
at a time from one stool unto another, ye shall remove all the cheeses
the stool at the other end without ever putting any cheese on one that
smaller than itself.
To him that will
perform this feat in the least
number of moves that be possible will I give a draught of the best that
our good host can provide."
To solve this puzzle
in the fewest possible
moves, first with 8, then with 10, and afterwards with 21 cheeses, is