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


About Edmark M. Law

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. I blog at You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkLaw and Facebook. My email is
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10 Responses to Conundrum

  1. Amazing, fun, and WAY beyond me!!! Thank You and Cheers!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very good ha ha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Abigail says:

    It’s like the “What color are the bus driver’s eyes?” math problem or “(enter long word here), spell ‘it’” pop quiz.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. curioushart says:

    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

  5. Collins says:

    That’s beautiful 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Graci says:

    Only one, the narrator.

    Or if it’s the mathematical answer, 2802 (1 man, 7 wives, 49 sacks, 343 cats, 2401 kits.

    I am not sure. Ha ha

    Liked by 4 people

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