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.
Pirate Pete had been captured by a Spanish general and sentenced to death by his 50-man firing squad. Pete cringed, as he knew their reputation for being the worst firing squad in the Spanish military. They were such bad shots that they would often all miss their targets and simply maim their victims, leaving them to bleed to death, as the general's tradition was to only allow one shot per man to save on ammunition. The thought of a slow painful death made Pete beg for mercy.
"Very well, I have some compassion. You may choose where the men stand when they shoot you and I will add 50 extra men to the squad to ensure someone will at least hit you. Perhaps if they stand closer they will kill you quicker, if you're lucky," snickered the general. "Oh, and just so you don't get any funny ideas, they can't stand more than 20 ft away, they must be facing you, and you must remain tied to the post in the middle of the yard. And to show I'm not totally heartless, if you aren't dead by sundown I'll release you so you can die peacefully outside the compound. I must go now but will return tomorrow and see to it that you are buried in a nice spot, though with 100 men, I doubt there will be much left of you to bury."
After giving his instructions the general left. Upon his return the next day, he found that Pete had been set free alive and well. "How could this be?" demanded the general. "It was where Pete had us stand," explained the captain of the squad.
Where did Pete tell them to stand?
Pete told them to form a circle around him. All the squad was facing in at Pete, ready to shoot, when they realized that everyone who missed would likely end up shooting another squad member. So no one dared to fire, knowing the risk. Thus at sundown he was released.
Two soldiers, William and Ethan, are assigned to guard a bridge, which connects the West and East sides of the Great Kingdom. Each soldier is ordered to stand at an end of the bridge to make sure no criminals cross.
On one side of the bridge stands William, watching over the West side of the kingdom, and making sure no shady characters try to cross the bridge.
Ethan stands on the other side of the bridge, facing the East side of the kingdom with his rifle at the ready in case any criminals try to pass across.
"Any criminals today?" William asks.
Ethan rolls his eyes. "What do you think?" he asks.
"You roll your eyes too much," William says.
How could William tell that Ethan was rolling his eyes?
William is on the east side of the bridge, facing the West side of the kingdom, while Ethan is on the west side of the bridge, facing the East side of the kingdom. So William and Ethan are facing each other, and can see each other's faces.
You die and the devil says he'll let you go to heaven if you beat him in a game. The devil sits you down at a perfectly round table. He gives himself and you an infinite pile of quarters. He says, "OK, we'll take turns putting one quarter down, no overlapping allowed, and the quarters must rest flat on the table surface. The first guy who can't put a quarter down loses." You guys are about to start playing, and the devil says that he'll go first. However, at this point you immediately interject, and ask if you can go first instead. You make this interjection because you are very smart and can place quarters perfectly, and you know that if you go first, you can guarantee victory. Explain how you can guarantee victory.
You place a quarter right in the center of the table. After that, whenever the devil places a quarter on the table, mimic his placement on the opposite side of the table.. If he has a place to place a quarter, so will you. The devil will run out of places to put a quarter before you do.
Two trains are traveling toward each other on the same track, each at 60 miles per hour. When they are exactly 120 miles apart, a fly takes off from the front of one of the trains, flying toward the other train at a constant rate of 100 miles per hour. When the fly reaches the other train, it instantly changes directions and starts flying toward the other train, still at 100 miles per hour. It keeps doing this back and forth until the trains finally collide.
If you add up all the distances back and forth that the fly has travelled, how much total distance has the fly travelled when the trains finally collide?
The fly has travelled exactly 100 miles. We can figure this out using some simple math. Becuase the trains are 120 miles apart when the fly takes off, and are travelling at 60 mph each, they will collide in exactly 1 hour. This gives the fly exactly 1 hour of flying time, going at a speed of 100 miles per hour. Thus, the fly will travel 100 miles in this hour.
A farmer challenges an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician to fence off the largest amount of area using the least amount of fence. The engineer made his fence in a circle and said it was the most efficient. The physicist made a long line and said that the length was infinite. Then he said that fencing half of the Earth was the best. The mathematician laughed at the others and with his design, beat the others. What did he do?
The mathematician made a small circular fence around himself and declared himself to be on the outside.
In olden days you are a clever thief charged with treason against the king and sentenced to death.
But the king decides to be a little lenient and lets you choose your own way to die.
What way should you choose?
Remember, you're clever!