Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Fox, goose and grain riddle

The wizard swept his hands over the three items. The first was a bag of grain. The second was a goose, which immediately stuck its bill into the bag. The wizard pulled it out and thrust it aside, at which point the third item, a fox, leapt up and bit the goose. The wizard grumbled, grabbed each by the neck and held them apart.

Struggling with the animals, he continued.

“So this is your challenge, boy. You must get all three of these items across the river safely, but there is only one slot for items in the canoe. Take the fox, and the goose will stay behind eating the grain.”

The boy nodded along. “And if I take the goose across first, then the fox second…”

The wizard beamed in that malicious way that old folks learn when their grandchildren don’t visit often enough.

“Then one will eat the other while you’re paddling for the third item. Exactly. This is your riddle. Pass it, and then I’ll let you live and cross my river.”

The boy rubbed his hands together, studying the goose and fox. The wizard released them, and immediately the fox bolted for the bird. The boy stepped in, sweeping the fox into his arms. When it nipped him, he rapped it on the head to pacify it.

The wizard raised an eyebrow. “Going to try that one first?”

“Sort of.”

The boy picked up the sack of grain, letting it yawn open. Then he dumped the stunned fox inside and drew the string tight. Before the wizard could complain, he climbed into the canoe and dropped the sack into his one item slot. The fox pawed at its burlap prison while the boy started rowing.

“I think I’ve got this riddle!” he called. “Can do it in two trips.”

“You’re very clever, sonny! I’ll let you keep the goose as a reward.”

When the boy was out of earshot, the wizard grumbled and waved his wand over the goose. A poison spell would teach that brat.


  1. *laughs* Nice twist. There's just no reward for ingenuity. :)

  2. Aw, I thought if you outsmarted the troll you got to pass go and collect $200.

  3. As I always say...never piss off a wizard. Upstart kids these days.

  4. Ooo, sore loser. I think the kid will out smart him yet again. I'm thinking, unbeknownst to the wizard, he's a vegan.

    I gave you a little something in recognition of your consistently fabulous flash. Head on over to my blog to pick it up.

  5. Jen, unless you can engineer a way to get the reward after you've already been ingenious!

    Karen, I thought you'd like it. It's set down by the river. Maybe if I pointed out the wizard lives in a van?

    Alan, have you ever been a wizard, or is this a principle thing?

    Jon, thank you both for the kind words and the award. That was very flattering.

  6. Good story. Spiteful old wizard... but I bet the boy will still outsmart him. Enjoyed this.

  7. Kids will outsmart you every time. LOL

  8. "Karen, I thought you'd like it. It's set down by the river. Maybe if I pointed out the wizard lives in a van?"

    You're so much fun to play with. But next time I want to be the race car.

    [He always INSISTS I be the thimble-- don't know what's up with that]

  9. Joke's on the wizard... the boy has been spending the last several years building up a resistance to Magic Goose Poison.

  10. ...good thing he wasn't also a sicilian Max


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  11. I'd worked it out a more boring way. I like this one. PS: Bit of a typo with "only one slots for items".

  12. FUNNY!! Even wizards can be cranky, spiteful old men ;)


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