PUZZLE: Longfellow’s Bees

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow introduced several Sanskrit puzzles to American audiences as part of his novel, Kavanagh. Among them was this one:

“One-fifth of a hive of bees flew to the Kadamba flower; one-third flew to the Silandhara; three times the difference of these two numbers flew to an arbor; and one bee continued flying about, attracted on each side by the fragrant Ketaki and the Malati. What was the number of the bees?”

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “PUZZLE: Longfellow’s Bees

  1. h is the total number of bees in the hive:

    h = (1/5)h + (1/3)h + 3h(1/3 – 1/5) + 1
    h – (1/5)h – (1/3)h – 3h(1/3 – 1/5) = 1
    h(1 – 1/5 – 1/3 – 1 + 3/5) = 1
    h(2/5 – 1/3) = 1
    h(6/15 – 5/15) = 1
    h(1/15) = 1
    h = 15

Comments are closed.