Conundrum

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The following couple of verses would be familiar to those who know the nursery rhyme As I was Going to St. Ives.

As I was going to Handover Fists
I met a man with seven wrists.
The seven wrists had seven hands;
The seven hands bore seven bonds;
The seven bonds hid seven wounds:
How many were going to Handover Fists?

And as I was going to Kingdom Come
I met a dog of twenty ton.
The twenty ton had twenty parts;
The twenty parts bore twenty hearts;
The twenty hearts gave twenty barks:
How many were going to Kingdom Come?

— Muriel Spark, All the Poems of Muriel Spark, 2004

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

10 thoughts on “Conundrum

  1. In both poems, the answer depends on (1) whether “how many” refers to people and (2) whether they were going in the same or the opposite direction.

    Liked by 1 person

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