This story originates from India.
A man died and left seventeen elephants to his three sons. His will said, “My eldest son gets half of my elephants, my middle son gets one-third, and my youngest son one-ninth of the seventeen elephants.”
However, there is no way you can divide seventeen elephants that way unless you cut up one of the elephants. Fortunately, though, a wise old friend had an idea. He lined up their seventeen elephants. Then he added one of his own — so they had eighteen elephants. Listen carefully!
Now it was easy — the eldest son got his half — nine elephants — the middle son got one-third of the eighteen, or six elephants — and the youngest son got one — ninth — two elephants. Add them up, you get seventeen. There was one elephant left.
The sons thanked the wise old man who said, “Now I can have my own elephant back.” And everyone was happy.
This may be both legally and mathematically incorrect but at least, no elephant was harmed!