Riddle #578


Which came first into the wolrd, the chicken or the egg?

One day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was. He asked Birbal: "Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?" Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficult day and were impatient to leave. "Ask me one difficult question," said Birbal. "Well, then tell me," said the man, "which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?" "The chicken," replied Birbal, very confidently. "How do you know?" asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice. What did Birbal answer to this?
Birbal told the scholar, "We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it" and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping.
93.70 %
40 votes

Similar riddles

See also best riddles or new riddles.


Heaven’s Gate Problem

You are standing before two doors. One of the path leads to heaven and the other one leads to hell. There are two guardians, one by each door. You know one of them always tells the truth and the other always lies, but you don’t know who is the honest one and who is the liar. You can only ask one question to one of them in order to find the way to heaven. What is the question?
The question you should ask is “If I ask the other guard about which side leads to heaven, what would he answer?”. It should be fairly easy to see that irrespective of whom do you ask this question, you will always get an answer which leads to hell. So you can chose the other path to continue your journey to heaven. This idea was famously used in the 1986 film Labyrinth. Here is the explanation if it is yet not clear. Let us assume that the left door leads to heaven. If you ask the guard which speaks truth about which path leads to heaven, as he speaks always the truth, he would say “left”. Now that the liar , when he is asked what “the other guard (truth teller) ” would answer, he would definitely say “right”. Similarly, if you ask the liar about which path leads to heaven, he would say “right”. As the truth teller speaks nothing but the truth, he would say “right” when he is asked what “the other guard( liar ) ” would answer. So in any case, you would end up having the path to hell as an answer. So you can chose the other path as a way to heaven.
93.98 %
42 votes


Crossing the Bridge Puzzle

Four people need to cross a rickety bridge at night. Unfortunately, they have only one torch and the bridge is too dangerous to cross without one. The bridge is only strong enough to support two people at a time. Not all people take the same time to cross the bridge. Times for each person: 1 min, 2 mins, 7 mins and 10 mins. What is the shortest time needed for all four of them to cross the bridge?
It is 17 mins. 1 and 2 go first, then 1 comes back. Then 7 and 10 go and 2 comes back. Then 1 and 2 go again, it makes a total of 17 minutes.
93.70 %
40 votes


Burning Rope Problem

A man has two ropes of varying thickness (Those two ropes are not identical, they aren’t the same density nor the same length nor the same width). Each rope burns in 60 minutes. He actually wants to measure 45 mins. How can he measure 45 mins using only these two ropes. He can’t cut the one rope in half because the ropes are non-homogeneous and he can’t be sure how long it will burn.
He will burn one of the rope at both the ends and the second rope at one end. After half an hour, the first one burns completely and at this point of time, he will burn the other end of the second rope so now it will take 15 mins more to completely burn. so total time is 30+15 i.e. 45mins.
93.70 %
40 votes


King and Wind Bottles

A bad king has a cellar of 1000 bottles of delightful and very expensive wine. A neighboring queen plots to kill the bad king and sends a servant to poison the wine. Fortunately (or say unfortunately) the bad king’s guards catch the servant after he has only poisoned one bottle. Alas, the guards don’t know which bottle but know that the poison is so strong that even if diluted 100,000 times it would still kill the king. Furthermore, it takes one month to have an effect. The bad king decides he will get some of the prisoners in his vast dungeons to drink the wine. Being a clever bad king he knows he needs to murder no more than 10 prisoners – believing he can fob off such a low death rate – and will still be able to drink the rest of the wine (999 bottles) at his anniversary party in 5 weeks time. Explain what is in mind of the king, how will he be able to do so?
Think in terms of binary numbers. (now don’t read the solution, give a try). Number the bottles 1 to 1000 and write the number in binary format. bottle 1 = 0000000001 (10 digit binary) bottle 2 = 0000000010 bottle 500 = 0111110100 bottle 1000 = 1111101000 Now take 10 prisoners and number them 1 to 10, now let prisoner 1 take a sip from every bottle that has a 1 in its least significant bit. Let prisoner 10 take a sip from every bottle with a 1 in its most significant bit. etc. prisoner = 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 bottle 924 = 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 For instance, bottle no. 924 would be sipped by 10,9,8,5,4 and 3. That way if bottle no. 924 was the poisoned one, only those prisoners would die. After four weeks, line the prisoners up in their bit order and read each living prisoner as a 0 bit and each dead prisoner as a 1 bit. The number that you get is the bottle of wine that was poisoned. 1000 is less than 1024 (2^10). If there were 1024 or more bottles of wine it would take more than 10 prisoners.
93.70 %
40 votes


Mislabeled Jar Puzzle

You have 3 jars that are all mislabeled. One jar contains Apple, another contains Oranges and the third jar contains a mixture of both Apple and Oranges. You are allowed to pick as many fruits as you want from each jar to fix the labels on the jars. What is the minimum number of fruits that you have to pick and from which jars to correctly label them?
Let’s take a scenario. Suppose you pick from jar labelled as Apple and Oranges and you got Apple from it. That means that jar should be Apple as it is incorrectly labelled. So it has to be Apple jar. Now the jar labelled Oranges has to be Mixed as it cannot be the Oranges jar as they are wrongly labelled and the jar labelled Apple has to be Oranges. Similar scenario applies if it’s a Oranges taken out from the jar labelled as Apple and Oranges. So you need to pick just one fruit from the jar labelled as Apple and Oranges to correctly label the jars.
92.67 %
34 votes


Ant and Triangle Problem

Three ants are sitting at the three corners of an equilateral triangle. Each ant starts randomly picks a direction and starts to move along the edge of the triangle. What is the probability that none of the ants collide?
So let’s think this through. The ants can only avoid a collision if they all decide to move in the same direction (either clockwise or anti-clockwise). If the ants do not pick the same direction, there will definitely be a collision. Each ant has the option to either move clockwise or anti-clockwise. There is a one in two chance that an ant decides to pick a particular direction. Using simple probability calculations, we can determine the probability of no collision. P(No collision) = P(All ants go in a clockwise direction) + P( All ants go in an anti-clockwise direction) = 0.5 * 0.5 * 0.5 + 0.5 * 0.5 * 0.5 = 0.25
85.67 %
39 votes


I know almost every song that has ever existed

A man is sitting in a pub feeling rather poor. He sees the man next to him pull a wad of £50 notes out of his wallet. He turns to the rich man and says to him, 'I have an amazing talent; I know almost every song that has ever existed.' The rich man laughs. The poor man says, 'I am willing to bet you all the money you have in your wallet that I can sing a genuine song with a lady's name of your choice in it.' The rich man laughs again and says, 'OK, how about my daughter's name, Joanna Armstrong-Miller?' The rich man goes home poor. The poor man goes home rich. What song did he sing?
Happy Birthday.
94.59 %
47 votes


Kicked off the train

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.
93.39 %
38 votes