☰ Captain Arthur David Linklater (1870-1951)

Once upon a time there lived an Arab
Sultan. Then he died. In his will he left 17 camels to his three sons
to be divided among them in the following proportion.

The Eldest son was to have a 1/2
of the number

The Second son was to have a 1/3rd
of the number

The Youngest son was to have a 1/9th
of the number

At his death the sons started to divide
the camels, and a great argument took place as each one naturally
wished his full number of camels which was for the

Eldest 1/2
of 17 = 81/2 camels.

Second 1/3 of 17
= 52/3rds camels.

Youngest 1/9 of
17 = 18/9ths camels.

The only way they could see of squaring it, was to start and cut some
of the camels up.

But lo, it came to pass at this time, an Arab merchant came from across the desert with a large following of baggage camels, and on hearing the cause of the dispute said he could settle it in such a way, that each would have more than his share, and no camels would be cut up and this was how this wise man from the East did it.

He placed the 17 camels, that had to
be divided, on one side, and took one of his own baggage camels and
placed it with the 17, which made 18 camels now to be divided, which
he did as follows, and gave to the

Eldest his 1/2
of 18 = 9 camels.

Second his 1/3 of
18 = 6 camels.

Youngest his 1/9
of 18 = 2 camels.

which made 17.

He then took his own camel back again and the dispute being now satisfactorily settled, he departed on his way, and the three sons marvelled at his wisdom.

And they aren't the only ones!