Wednesday, June 18, 2003

More Puzzlement

Apropos nothing in particular, here's a true story from English mathematician and puzzlist Henry Ernest Dudeney.

In China, during the Boxer Rebellion, a Colonel in the English Army was attending Sunday Service with his wife. When the congregation knelt to pray he fell asleep. He dreamt that he was kneeling before a Chinese executioner who was about to behead him.

At the end of the prayers, his wife resumed her seat and saw that her husband had fallen asleep. To wake him, she tapped him on the back of the neck with her fan. The colonel, taking this for the touch of the executioner's sword, promptly had a heart attack and died.

Sometimes, the human mind plays very strange tricks on itself.

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