Friday Funny: Camel Maths

David Meego - Click for blog homepageI came across this funny maths puzzle recently. This time it has the answer with it, so you don’t need to work it out.

However, it does have a moral to go with it.🙂

So the story goes:

A father left 17 camels as an asset for his three sons. When the father passed away, his sons opened up the will. The will of the father stated that:

  • The eldest son should get half of 17 camels.
  • The middle son should be given a third of 17 camels.
  • The youngest son should be given ninth of the 17 camels.

As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the sons started to fight with each other.

So, they decided to go to a wise man. The wise man listened patiently about the will. The wise man, after giving this much thought, brought one camel of his own and added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 camels.

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will.

  • Half of 18 = 9. So he gave 9 camels to the eldest son.
  • A third of 18 = 6. So he gave 6 camels to the middle son.
  • A ninth of 18 = 2. So he gave 2 camels to the youngest son.

The sons were happy. But add this up: 9 + 6 + 2 = 17. This leaves 1 camel, which the wise man took back.

Moral: the attitude of negotiation and problem-solving is to find the 18th camel, i.e. the common ground. To reach a solution, you must believe that there is a solution.



This article was originally posted on

4 thoughts on “Friday Funny: Camel Maths

  1. Good one. We had a lot of fun discussing various options during our Friday lunch. The answers varied from –

    The father left this cryptic message so the brothers would take care of camels together, AND

    Could they eat up one camel ?

    Someone even suggested your wise man solution, which we are calling the “bring external consultant” solution.

    The in-house solution was to divide as normal, and round off to the closet whole number. 8.5 become 9, 5.6 becomes 6, and 1.8 becomes 2. They saved on high wise man consulting fees, and came up with a solution.

    Liked by 1 person

Please post feedback or comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s