A hobo had just been kicked off the train by one of the bosses. As he made his way down a dusty side road, he noticed a saffron robed man sitting next to a campfire apparently deep in thought. A wonderful smelling stew was bubbling in a pot next to him. It had been a full day since the hobo's last meal, so he went over to the man and tapped him on the shoulder.
"I see by your robes that you are some kind of holy man," said the hobo.
The Zen Master turned to the hobo and said, "You speak the truth."
The hobo spoke, "I would sure like to try the stew you have on the campfire there; perhaps if I could tell you something to increase your wisdom, you will agree to share your meal."
The Zen Master turned to the hobo and said, "Please, you are welcome to share my meal because you have already increased my wisdom!"
What had the Zen Master learned from the hobo to increase his wisdom?
The Zen Master learned that he should find a more privace place to meditate if he doesn't want to be interrupted by every vagabond that happens by.
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.
Two men working at a construction site were up for a challenge, and they were pretty mad at each other.
Finally, at lunch break, they confronted one another.
One man, obviously stronger, said "See that wheelbarrow? I'm willin' to bet $100 (that's all I have in my wallet here) that you can't wheel something to that cone and back that I can't do twice as far. Do you have a bet?"
The other man, too dignified to decline, shook his hand, but he had a plan formulating.
He looked at the objects lying around: a pile of 400 bricks, a steel beam, the 10 men that had gathered around to watch, his pickup truck, a stack of ten bags of concrete mix, and then he finalized his plan.
"All right," he said, and revealed his object.
That night, the strong man went home thoroughly teased and $100 poorer.
What did the other man choose?
He looked the man right in the eye and said "get in."
A swan sits at the center of a perfectly circular lake. At an edge of the lake stands a ravenous monster waiting to devour the swan. The monster can not enter the water, but it will run around the circumference of the lake to try to catch the swan as soon as it reaches the shore. The monster moves at 4 times the speed of the swan, and it will always move in the direction along the shore that brings it closer to the swan the quickest. Both the swan and the the monster can change directions in an instant.
The swan knows that if it can reach the lake's shore without the monster right on top of it, it can instantly escape into the surrounding forest.
How can the swan succesfully escape?
Assume the radius of the lake is R feet. So the circumference of the lake is (2*pi*R). If the swan swims R/4 feet, (or, put another way, 0.25R feet) straight away from the center of the lake, and then begins swimming in a circle around the center, then it will be able to swim around this circle in the exact same amount of time as the monster will be able to run around the lake's shore (since this inner circle's circumference is 2*pi*(R/4), which is exactly 4 times shorter than the shore's circumference).
From this point, the swan can move a millimeter inward toward the lake's center, and begin swimming around the center in a circle from this distance. It is now going around a very slightly smaller circle than it was a moment ago, and thus will be able to swim around this circle FASTER than the monster can run around the shore.
The swan can keep swimming around this way, pulling further away each second, until finally it is on the opposite side of its inner circle from where the monster is on the shore. At this point, the swan aims directly toward the closest shore and begins swimming that way. At this point, the swan has to swim [0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] to get to shore. Meanwhile, the monster will have to run R*pi feet (half the circumference of the lake) to get to where the swan is headed.
The monster runs four times as fast as the swan, but you can see that it has more than four times as far to run:
[0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] * 4 < R*pi
[This math could actually be incorrect if R were very very small, but in that case we could just say the swan swam inward even less than a millimeter, and make the math work out correctly.]
Because the swan has less than a fourth of the distance to travel as the monster, it will reach the shore before the monster reaches where it is and successfully escape.
A man and woman run through a field holding hands. They bound toward the sunset, happy as can be. Suddenly, the man moves off of his straight-line course and starts veering to his left. At the same time, the woman begins running off to her right.
They continue this for a full minute, but never let go of each others' hands. How is this possible?
The man was facing forward, but the woman was running backwards. The man's right hand was holding the woman's right hand. They both veered in the same geographic direction, but it was the man's left and the woman's right because the woman was running backwards.
Dave is put in a cell with a dirt floor and only one window.
The window is too high for him to reach.
The only thing in the cell is a shovel.
He won't be able to get any food or water and only has two days to escape or he'll die.
Dave can't dig a tunnel because it will take him much longer than two days to do it.
How will Dave escape from the cell?
Dave has to use the shovel to create a pile of dirt under the window so he can climb up onto it and escape from the cell.