Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
June 2024

Bedouin Breath

Two Bedouins were traveling across the desert on their way to a distant village. In the middle of the day, they sat down to eat the loaves of bread they had brought with them for lunch. One had five loaves. The other had three, making a total of eight. Just as they’re getting ready to eat, a stranger comes along and asks if he might share their meal. He said, “I have plenty of money but, unfortunately, no food.” The two agree to divide their loaves equally among the three of them. After the meal is finished, the stranger lays down eight coins of equal value for what he had eaten and goes away. The Bedouin with the five loaves picks five coins and leaves three for the other guy. But the other guy says, “No, no, no, no, Bedouin Breath. Look, we both shared our loaves. We should each get four coins.” Since they couldn’t agree, they call in a magistrate who happened to be road testing out a camel. The magistrate listens to the story and figures out who should get what. So the question was, was the first guy right, was the second guy right, or were they both wrong? And what’s the fair way to divide up the money? Well, it turns out they’re both wrong. What would be the proper distribution of coins?

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5 guesses to Bedouin Breath

  • Balrog

    The bedouin with 5 loaves gets 7 coins and the other with 3 gets 1 coin.
    If they shared eight loaves equally among them, then everyone would get 8/3 loaves. The rich stranger got 7/3 loaves from bedouin with 5 loaves and 1/3 of a loaf from the other. Accordingly , first one would get 7 and the other one 1.

  • det

    A beduin B
    3 breads 5

    “divide their loaves equally among the three of them”
    amount of bread eaten by one person: 8/3

    “A” beduin gave 1/3 bread from his own and beduin “B” gave 7/3, so they deserve gold in the proportion of their sacrify.

    beduin “A” deserves 1/8*8=1 gold
    beduin “B” deserves 7/8*8=7 golds

  • det

    nice solution Barlog, you beat me in typing :)

  • Balrog

    Thnx dit :),but no better than you ;)

  • Balrog, you are correct.

    They had five loaves and three loaves. OK? That’s eight loaves. Let’s say the guy with the five loaves took and cut his five loaves, each of his five loaves up into three pieces. So, he’d have 15 pieces. The guy with the three loaves does the same. He cuts each of his three loaves into nine pieces. Now interestingly, they have together 24 little pieces of bread. Conveniently, there are three of them. So, each person is going to eat eight little pieces of bread. Now, the guy with the 15 loaves eats eight of them himself. That means he has given seven of them to the stranger. The guy with the nine pieces, the guy with the three loaves has cut his up into nine pieces, but he’s going to eat eight of them and give one away. So, the magistrate says the guy with the five loaves gets seven coins, and the other guy gets one.

    Great job everybody, Bal you are today’s winner!