Saturday, 3 January 2015

Tenaliraman's Problem solving

Once upon a time, there lived a Vidushak (means Comedy Poet) called Raman from a place called Tenali.  He was very wise and he was part of the King Krishnadeva Raya’s court.  He was more known as Tenaliraman and there are lots of stories about him.
I read one of the stories in which he first gets introduced to the king by solving a problem.
One day, 3 brothers came to the King’s court room with a problem. 
When their father died he had left 17 elephants to be divided between the three brothers.  He wrote a will before he died like this:
·         The biggest brother had to get half (1/2) of the total elephants
·         The middle brother had to get one third (1/3rd) of the total elephants
·         The smallest brother had to get one third (1/3rd) of what the middle brother gets.
Nobody could divide 17 elephants by half or 1/3rd, because it is an odd number.
That time Tenaliraman came and said that he can solve this problem.
·         Tenaliraman asked for 17 toy elephants. 
·         And he asked for 1 more elephant which belongs to the king.
·         The total of that were 18. 

Now, it was easy for Tenaliraman to divide it like this:


  1. Shriya, I love this! The task of dividing the elephants looks so impossible at first, and then with the one elephant added... it becomes possible. And then, to make it perfect, the added elephant is given back again!

  2. This is the second time you've done a great puzzle post, Shriya! It would be great to have more of them. I wonder if anyone else knows any puzzles?