When farmer Jones died he left a herd of 17 cows. In his will he gave instructions that the cows were to be divided as follows: ½ to his eldest son, Sam, 1/3 to his second son, Michael, and 1/9 to his youngest son, Benjamin. The three brothers could not see how this was possible. Luckily for them, a passing professor of mathematics heard of this problem and solved it for them. How?
Clue for the Puzzle:
Suppose there had been 18 cows, how many each would the sons have got?
Answer for the Puzzle:
The professor of mathematics suggested they add one imaginary cow before doing their division:
½ of 18 = 9
1/3 of 18 = 6
1/9 of 18 = 2
Total = 9+6+2 = 17
Curiously enough, as you can see, this adds up to 17!