While mixing sand, gravel, and cement for the foundation of a house, a worker noticed a small bird hopping along the top of the foundation wall. The bird misjudged a hop and fell down one of the holes between the blocks. The bird was down too far for anyone to reach it and the hole was too small for it to fly out of. Someone suggested using two sticks to reach down into the hole and pull the bird out, but this idea was rejected for fear it would injure the fragile bird. What would be the easiest way to get the bird out of the hole without injuring it?
Since they had plenty of sand available, they could pour a little at a time into the hole. The bird would constantly keep shifting its position so that it stood on the rising sand.
During the Summer Olympics, a fellow competed in the long jump and out-jumped everybody. He didn't just win the event, he actually broke the world record held for that event. Nobody broke his record for the remainder of the Olympics, and still today his name is in the record books.
However, even though he holds the world record, he never received a medal in the long jump. How did he manage to do so well, but not receive a medal?
He was competing in the decathlon. He won the long jump event, but didn't perform very well in the other events. He lost the decathlon, so he didn't receive any medals (even though he hold the world record for long jump).
A horse travels a certain distance each day. Strangely enough, two of its legs travel 30 miles each day and the other two legs travel nearly 31 miles. It would seem that two of the horse's legs must be one mile ahead of the other two legs, but of course this can't be true. Since the horse is normal, how is this situation possible?
The horse operates the mill and travels in a circular clockwise direction. The two outside legs will travel a greater distance than the inside ones.
You are walking down a path when you come to two doors. Opening one of the doors will lead you to a life of prosperity and happiness, while opening the other door will lead to a life of misery and sorrow. You don't know which door leads to which life.
In front of the doors are two twin brothers who know which door leads where. One of the brothers always lies, and the other always tells the truth. You don't know which brother is the liar and which is the truth-teller.
You are allowed to ask one single question to one of the brothers (not both) to figure out which door to open.
What question should you ask?
Ask "If I asked your brother what the good door is, what would he say?"
If you ask the truth-telling brother, he will point to the bad door, because this is what the lying brother would point to.
Alternatively, if you ask the lying brother, he will also point to the bad door, because this is NOT what the truth-telling brother would point to.
So whichever door is pointed to, you should go through the other one.
One day, Emperor Akbar posed a question to Birbal. He asked him what Birbal would choose if he offered either justice or a gold coin.
"The gold coin," said Birbal without hesitation.
On hearing this, Akbar was taken aback. "You would prefer a gold coin to justice?" he asked, not believing his own ears.
"Yes," said Birbal.
The other courtiers were amazed by Birbal's display of idiocy. They were full of glee that Birbal had finally managed himself to do what these courtiers had not been able to do for a long time - discredit Birbal in the emperor's eyes!
"I would have been disappointed if this was the choice made even by my lowliest of servants," continued the emperor. "But coming from you it's not only disappointing, but shocking and sad. I did not know you were so debased!"
How did Birbal justify his answer to the enraged and hurt Emperor?
"One asks for what one does not have, Your Majesty." said Birbal, smiling gently and in quiet tones.
"Under Your Majesty´s rule, justice is available to everybody. But I am a spendthrift and always short of money and therefore I said I would choose the gold coin."
The answer immensely pleased the emperor and respect for Birbal was once again restored in the emperor's eyes.