Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
June 2024

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker’s Dilemma

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker's Dilemma
Hey all you home birds…

The fam has been doing riddles trying to stump each other to pass the days. Here’s the latest that I sent which no one has guessed yet, see how smart you are. But don’t spoil it for
“OFF WITH HIS HEAD”, the king shouted! “But your majesty” said the Candlestick Maker, “It was an accident, the Baker mixed baking powder in my new batch of wax. Besides, I’ve been left blind by the explosion!” The Candlestick Maker was trying to please the king with a new scent in his latest batch of candles. The resultant wax mix caused an explosion in the king’s candle making lab. The king was not pleased, but eased off on his decree knowing that it wasn’t all the Candlestick Maker’s fault. “TO THE DUNGEON THEN” shouted the king, “AND PUT THE BAKER THERE TOO!” With a sad countenance, the Candlestick Maker and Baker were led to the dungeon, for how long, nobody knew! The king was steaming mad for what had happened, his lab was a total mess, wax and debris all over the place! Dinner time had arrived and the king sat down for his roasted pig dinner. As the king started biting into his roasted pig, the king shouted out “GET ME THE BUTCHER, NEVER HAVE I TASTED SUCH A TOUGH PIECE OF MEAT!” The Butcher stood before the king, shaking in fear, knowing his demise was at hand. “TAKE HIM TO THE DUNGEON”, cried the king, “LET HIM ROT THERE FOR ALL I CARE!”. Off to the dungeon the Butcher went, his head hung low as he was thrown into the same room as the Baker and Candlestick Maker. As the night went on, sleep was the furthest from the king, troubled by all that had happened that day in his kingdom. After a restless night, the break of day was a welcome sight to the king. “CALL THE DUNGEON MASTER”, shouts the king, “I MUST RESOLVE WHAT HAD HAPPENED YESTERDAY!” The Dungeon Master stands before the king and the king says, “I have a solution to my troubled spirit of putting my Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker in the dungeon all at once. Get me five caps, two with black feathers and three with white!” “Oh, and get me three blindfolds too! I’ll meet you down in the dungeon” said the king. Down in the dungeon the king gathers the prisoners together. “I have been troubled locking you all up in the dungeon all at once,” the king said. “I have five caps, two with black feathers and three with white feathers,” the king stated. “I will blindfold all of you and place one of the caps on your head and have the remaining caps removed. I will then remove the blindfolds from each of you one at a time. You cannot speak to one another at all. After your blindfold has been removed, you will give your answer and the blindfold will be replaced on your eyes. Whoever can tell me the color of the feather in your cap will be let go. DO NOT INSULT ME BY GUESSING, FOR BE WARNED,” shouted the king, “If you answer incorrectly, you will immediately be sent to the gallows where you will hang. However, if you do not give an answer, you will spend the remainder of your life in the dungeon.” The king tells the Butcher to remove his blindfold, the Butcher looks around at the other caps. The king says “What is the color of your feather?” Not wanting to guess and risk his life, the Butcher says “I don’t know!” “Replace your blindfold!” the king says to the Butcher. The king then turns to the Baker, “Remove your blindfold Baker.” The Baker removes his blindfold and looks around at the other caps. “What is your answer Baker,” the king cries. To scared to guess, the Baker answers “I do not know!” and replaces his blindfold. The king now is perplexed and turns away to leave. As the Candlestick Maker hears the king’s steps walking away he shouts “Wait my lord, what about me?” The king turns to the Candlestick Maker and says “The Dungeon Master has confirmed to me that you are in fact blind from the explosion, so you couldn’t possibly be in a position to answer.” “But I need to tell you something my lord that I am certain about,” said the Candlestick Maker. The king walks back and leans over to the Candlestick Maker, he whispers in the king’s ear. “SET THE CANDLESTICK MAKER FREE,” shouts the king.

What did the Candlestick Maker say to the king?

Thank you Jim for your great submission!

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6 guesses to The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker’s Dilemma

  • Howard

    If the first guy to look had seen two black hats, he would have known he was wearing a white hat. But he could not give that answer because it he did not see two black hats, and his own hat could be white or black and he does not want to guess..

    The second guy when he looks knows that the first guy must have seen at least one white hat. And if he himself sees two black hats, he knows his is white. And if he sees one black hat he knows his is white. But, if he sees two white hats, his own hat could be be black or white and he does not want to guess..

    The third guy knows all of the above. He is certain the first guy did not see two black hats, so his could not be certainly white, and guys 1 and 2 both saw at least 1 white hat. No-one sees two black hats. No-one sees a secure answer, and since there is none, he who gets free is the one who figures out that since no-one has has a logically secure answer, and the only way that can happen is for all the hats to be white.

  • Togram

    The Candlestick Maker knows his cap has a white feather. The other 2 saying they didn’t know means they saw a black and a white feather, knowing that theirs could be either one. If they’d seen two blacks, then they would know theirs was white, as there were only 2 blacks presented in the first place….but they didn’t.
    The Butcher and the Baker had black feathers.

  • Keegan

    It’s impossible to deduct what the Butcher and Baker’s cap colour is, however the Baker being unsure means that the Candlestick Maker’s cap is not black. Here’s why:

    Since the Butcher is unsure, no more than one of the other caps is black, so they could be both white, or only one can be black.

    If the Baker knows that only one cap could be black, or both of them white between the Baker and Candlemaker, and he sees that the Candlemaker’s cap is black, then he would know that his is white. He is unsure however, meaning that the Candlemaker’s cap is not black.

    So the Candlestick maker whispered that his cap’s feather is white.

  • Aaron

    The candlestick maker knew the king was testing him. 1(: He would not have received a blindfold if the king truly believed he was blind. Futhermore, though the butcher and the baker both saw at least one white feather, then the candlestick maker would not necessarily know if his feather was a particular color, even if he did see (maybe the butcher and the baker both saw the candlestick maker with the white feather). However, what we can conclude is that despite not knowing his own feather color, the candlestick maker was certain the king was testing him. 2(: Why involve the candlestick maker at all if he “couldn’t possibly be in a position to answer?”

  • Paul

    To solve this, look at it from the third (blind) man’s perspective (the Candlestick maker).

    When the Butcher’s blindfold is removed, he cannot make a sure answer. This means that either he saw TWO WHITE feathers, or a BLACK AND A WHITE feather on the two remaining gentlemen. THESE ARE THE ONLY TWO POSSIBILITIES AT THIS POINT IN THE RIDDLE, and both the remaining gentlemen realize this.

    Now the Baker takes off his blindfold.
    IF THE CANDLESTICK MAKER is wearing a BLACK feather, the Baker would immediately know he’s wearing a WHITE feather and would make that guess. Why? Remember the Butcher’s above guess and what it told the other two remaining players — it told them that the two of them were either wearing TWO WHITE feathers, or ONE BLACK AND ONE WHITE feather.
    If the Candlestick maker’s cap had a BLACK feather in it, the Baker would immediately know his cap has a WHITE feather!

    But he gives no answer! By doing this — giving no answer — the Baker has told the Candlestick maker that his (the Candlestick maker’s) cap does NOT have a BLACK feather in it. Ergo, it MUST have a WHITE feather in it!

    So, even while being blind, the Candlestick maker knows the color of his feather! It’s WHITE!

    (Now try to add a twist to it. Same riddle — up to a point. THIS time the King is going to use ONE black feather and FOUR WHITE FEATHERS! And instead of announcing their guesses, each gentleman will whisper his answer to the king. The Butcher is to go first, the Baker is to go second, and the Candlestick maker is to go third.

    “Wait,” says the Candlestick maker. “I’m blind! I can’t see what the others can see, and I won’t be able to hear their answers, since everyone is whispering now. How can this be fair to me?”

    The King ponders a moment, and then says, “Okay, I’ll make it so that you all — even you who are blind, Candlestick maker — the exact same chance of correctly telling what color feather he’s wearing. Fair enough?”

    “Fair enough,” says the Candlestick maker.

    All the hats are arranged on everyone’s heads. The King starts by turning to the Butcher…

    “I know what color feather I’m wearing,” announces the Candlestick maker.

    What does he whisper to the King?)

  • Carmen

    My wife is a cook, wispers the candlestick maker to the king.