(related to Problem: The Abbot's Window)

The man who was "learned in strange mysteries" pointed out to Father John that the orders of the Lord Abbot of St. Edmondsbury might be easily carried out by blocking up twelve of the lights in the window as shown by the dark squares in the following sketch:—


Father John held that the four corners should also be darkened, but the sage explained that it was desired to obstruct no more light than was absolutely necessary, and he said, anticipating Lord Dundreary, "A single pane can no more be in a line with itself than one bird can go into a corner and flock in solitude. The Abbot's condition was that no diagonal lines should contain an odd number of lights."

Now, when the holy man saw what had been done he was well pleased, and said, "Truly, Father John, thou art a man of deep wisdom, in that thou hast done that which seemed impossible, and yet withal adorned our window with a device of the cross of St. Andrew, whose name I received from my godfathers and godmothers." Thereafter he slept well and arose refreshed. The window might be seen intact to-day in the monastery of St. Edmondsbury, if it existed, which, alas! the window does not.

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Project Gutenberg

  1. Dudeney, H. E.: "Amusements in Mathematics", The Authors' Club, 1917

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