Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Cursed Pirate Gold

Once, there were 7 pirates. The pirates had just robbed a small fishing boat and were now splitting the loot.

The loot was a small chest of less than 500 gold coins. The 7 pirates decided to split the loot evenly between themselves, as they were petty and did not want any one member to get more loot.

After a while, the gold coins were split into 7 stacks. However, the 7th stack had 1 coin less than the others. An argument broke out over who was to receive this 7th stack, and during the heated debate, one pirate was "accidentally" killed.

While the loss of manpower was regretable, the pirates consoled themselves with their now larger shares of the loot. Again, they pooled the coins and split it evenly among themselves. After some splitting, the coins were split into 6 stacks. Alas, the 6th stack was again 1 coin short!

A new scuffle broke out and another pirate was killed. The remaining 5 pirates split the coins into 5 stacks. Cursedly, they were 1 coin short again of having even stacks! One of the pirates, shocked at this unnatural occurence, shouted "A Ghost ! It be the work of ghosts !", then flipped over and died.

While the remaining 4 pirates were unnerved, greed was a stronger motivator. They split the gold into 4 stacks, but again, they were short by 1 coin !!! The burliest member of the band of brigands, a person of vulgar courage, slammed his fist on the table and shouted "I fear no work of demons ! Give me my gold !". He was swiftly killed by a falling lamp which was dislodged by his slamming action.

3 pirates were left, and they were clearly spooked. Yet, they divided the loot into 3 portions. One member, on seeing that one stack was again short of 1 coin, feared for his life and ran, leaving his share untouched !

The 2 remaining pirates decided to make the best of things and split the loot again, this time evenly among themselves. But the stacks were again uneven!

By now, the 2 pirates were spooked and decided to flee for their lives !

How many gold coins were there originally ?


The Negative Man said...

I am saddened that some penguin smarter than a scholar solved my question very quickly.

lightsaber8884 said...

Let me venture a guess... 419?

lightsaber8884 said...

I'm quite tempted to write -1 though.

The Negative Man said...

Haha you are right.

-1 would be an interesting and congruent answer. But the pirates must have been quite dumb.