A popular nursery happiness states, "As ns was going come St.Ives, i met a guy with 7 wives. Every wife had seven sacks, every sack had seven cats, every cat had seven kitts. Kitts, cats, sacks, wives, how plenty of were going to St. Ives?" Upon being presented with this conundrum, most readers start furiously adding and multiplying numbers in stimulate to calculate the total quantity that objects mentioned. However, the difficulty is a trick question. Because the man and his wives, sacks, etc. Were met through the narrator ~ above the means to St.Ives, they were in reality leaving--not going to--St.Ives. The number going to St.Ives is thus "at least one" (the narrator), but might be an ext since the problem doesn"t mention if the narrator is alone.

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Should a diligent reader however wish to calculate the sum full

the kitts, cats, sacks, wives, to add the man himself, the price is quickly given through the geometric series

(1)

with

and
. Therefore,

(2)

Computing the sum clearly (but group cleverly),

 (3) (4) (5) (6)(7)(8)

A comparable question was provided as problem 79 of the Rhind papyrus, date from 1650 BC. This problem pertains to 7 houses, each with 7 cats, each with 7 mice, each through 7 spelt, each v 7 hekat. The total number of items is then

(9)

(Wells 1986, p.71). In turn, the problem of the Rhind papyrus is repeated inFibonacci"s Liber Abaci (1202, 1228).

REFERENCES:

Eisele, C. "The Liber Abaci v the eye of Charles S.Peirce."Scripta Math. 17, 236-259, 1951.

Gillings, R.J. Mathematicsin the moment of the Pharaohs. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1972.

Wells, D. The Penguin dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, p.71, 1986.

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Weisstein, Eric W. "St. Ives Problem."From cg-tower.com--A cg-tower.com internet Resource. Https://cg-tower.com/StIvesProblem.html

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