Written in 1870 , this set of puzzles by Lewis Carroll are an example of his superb wit and humour.
Puzzle until your puzzler is sore, then look here. The solutions are as well crafted as the conundrums themselves, and worth a look even if you know the answers.
DREAMING of apples on a wall,
And dreaming often, dear,
I dreamed that, if I counted all,
--How many would appear?
A stick I found that weighed two pound:
I sawed it up one day
In pieces eight of equal weight!
How much did each piece weigh?
(Everybody says "a quarter of a pound", which is wrong.)
John gave his brother James a box:
About it there were many locks.
James woke and said it gave him pain;
So gave it back to John again.
The box was not with lid supplied,
Yet caused two lids to open wide:
And all these locks had never a key--
What kind of box, then, could it be?
What is most like a bee in May?
"Well, let me think: perhaps--" you say.
Bravo! You're guessing well to-day!
Three sisters at breakfast were feeding the cat,
The first gave it sole--Puss was grateful for that:
The next gave it salmon--which Puss thought a treat:
The third gave it herring--which Puss wouldn't eat.
(Explain the conduct of the cat.)
Said the Moon to the Sun,
"Is the daylight begun?"
Said the Sun to the Moon,
"Not a minute too soon."
"You're a Full Moon," said he.
She replied with a frown,
"Well! I never did see
So uncivil a clown!"
(Query. Why was the moon so angry?)
When the King found that his money was nearly all gone
, and that he really must
live more economically, he decided on sending away most of his Wise
Men. There were some hundreds of them -- very fine old men, and magnificently dressed in green velvet gowns
with gold buttons: if they had
a fault, it was
that they always contradicted one another when he asked for their advice -- and they certainly ate and drank enormously. So, on the whole, he was rather glad to
get rid of them
. But there was an old law, which he did not dare to disobey, which said that there must always be
"Seven blind of both eyes:
Two blind of one eye:
Four that see with both eyes:
None that see with one eye."
(Query. How many did he keep?)