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A Leather Purse!

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.

 

Fun:*** (3.05)
Difficulty:** (1.93)
Category:Situation
Submitted By:OldChinaHand

 



A beggar found a leather purse that someone had dropped in the marketplace. Opening it, he discovered that it contained 100 pieces of gold. Then he heard a merchant shout, "A reward! A reward to the one who finds my leather purse!"

Being an honest man, the beggar came forward and handed the purse to the merchant saying, "Here is your purse. May I have the reward now?"

"Reward?" scoffed the merchant, greedily counting his gold. "Why the purse I dropped had 200 pieces of gold in it. You've already stolen more than the reward! Go away or I'll tell the police."

"I'm an honest man," said the beggar defiantly. "Let us take this matter to the court."

In court, the judge patiently listened to both sides of the story of a leather bag lost and a leather bag found. He counted the coins; 100 gold coins in total. Then said, "If all was said is true then it's clear that no reward is necessary."

How did the judge rule on this case?


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Answer

The judge then said, "Merchant, you stated that the purse you lost contained 200 pieces of gold. Well, that's a considerable loss, but the purse this beggar found had only 100 pieces of gold. Therefore, it couldn't be the one you lost." With that, the judge gave the purse with 100 pieces of gold to the beggar, and told the merchant that he did not have to pay a reward.

There might just be a leather bag out there somewhere still with 200 pieces of gold in it, but don't ask the merchant, the beggar, or me.

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