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For the Smell of Soup

Situation puzzles (sometimes called lateral thinking puzzles) are ones where you need to ask lots of yes or no questions to figure out what happened in the situation. These are good puzzles for groups where one person knows the puzzle and answers the questions.


Puzzle ID:#34842
Fun:**** (3.1)
Difficulty:*** (2.24)
Submitted By:OldChinaHand*****
Corrected By:reptile5000




A beggar was given a piece of bread, but nothing to put on it. Hoping to get something to go with his bread, he went to a nearby inn and asked for a handout. The innkeeper turned him away with nothing, but the beggar sneaked around to the kitchen window where he saw a large pot of soup cooking over the fire. He held his piece of bread through the window and over the steaming pot, hoping to thus capture a bit of flavor from the good-smelling vapor.

Suddenly the innkeeper seized him by the arm and accused him of stealing soup.

"I took no soup," said the beggar. "I was only smelling the vapor."

"Then you must pay for the smell," answered the innkeeper.

The poor beggar had no money, so the angry innkeeper called for the magistrate.

Now at that time an elder knight named Chistpin was serving as magistrate, as most able bodied men were with the Baron in the Holy Land on yet another crusade, and came over and heard the innkeeper's complaint and the beggar's explanation.

"So you demand payment for the smell of your soup?" summarized Chistpin after listening to both men.

"Yes my lord!" insisted the innkeeper. "My soup is good and it is costly to make, so the rich smells must also be costly and have a value too."

"Payment for the smell? Indeed all things have value, but what would be a fair value for just the smell of a pot of soup? That is the problem here."

Just then something behind him caught Sir Chistpin's attention as a customer paid for his ale and was leaving. "Ah, yes. Yes indeed, there is a fair payment for just the smell of your soup".

How could there be a fair value for just the smell of cooking soup?


The elder knight looked at both the beggar and the innkeeper, and then back to where the sound of a coin, tossed on a table as a customer paid for his ale and left, had caught his attention.

"Innkeeper, I, Sir Chistpin, acting magistrate of Lincolnshire, have found a just and fair payment for the smell of your soup, and I will pay it to you myself," said Chistpin. Taking two large gold coins from a small leather pouch, the Innkeeper's eye sparkled, and Chistpin said, "I will pay for the rich smell of your costly soup with the rich sound of money." Thus Sir Chistpin rang the two coins together loudly, and then he put them back into his pouch; with the price of justice paid, sent the beggar on his own way and left the innkeeper to his own means.


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