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Carroll, Lewis: A Tangled Tale (1.Knot)

Portre of Carroll, Lewis

A Tangled Tale (1.Knot) (English)

Problem. — Two travelers spend from 3 o’clock till 9 in walking along a level road, up a hill, and home again: their pace on the level being 4 miles an hour, up hill 3, and down hill 6. Find the distance walked: also (within half an hour) time of reaching top of hill.The elder and the younger knight


 They sallied forth at three;

How far they went on level ground

 It matters not to me;

What time they reached the foot of hill,

 When they began to mount,

Are problems which I hold to be

 Of very small account.


The moment that each waved his hat

 Upon the topmost peak –

To trivial query such as this

 No answer will I seek.

Yet can I tell the distance well

 They must have travelled o’er:

On hill and plain, Ywixt three and nine,

 The miles were twenty-four.


Four miles an hour their steady pace

 Along the level track,

Three when they climbed – but six when they

 Came swiftly striding back

Adown the hill; and little skill

 It needs, methinks, to show,

Up hill and down together told,

 Four miles an hour they go.


For whether long or short the time

 Upon the hill they spent,

Two thirds were passed in going up,

 One third in the descent.

Two thirds at three, one third at six,

 If rightly reckoned o’er,

Will make one whole at four – the tale

 Is tangled now no more.

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