A Problem from Lewis Carroll
This year is the centenary of the death of the Reverend Charles L.
Dodgson, who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll. His most
famous works are "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass",
which contains the classic nonsense poem "Jabberwocky". He was also the
creator of many mathematical recreations. The following puzzle is from
his "Pillow Problems".
Some people sat in a circle, so that each had two neighbors and each had
a certain number of dollars. The first had one dollar more than the
second, who had one dollar more than the third, and so on. The first
gave one dollar to the second, who gave two dollars to the third, and
so on, each giving one dollar more than he or she received, for as long as
possible. There were then two neighbors, one of whom had four times as
much as the other.
- How many people were there?
- How much had the poorest person at first?
For more Lewis Carroll problems (and their solutions), go