You may also like

problem icon

Maze 100

Can you go through this maze so that the numbers you pass add to exactly 100?

problem icon

Add 3 Dice

Three dice are placed in a row. Find a way to turn each one so that the three numbers on top of the dice total the same as the three numbers on the front of the dice. Can you find all the ways to do this?

problem icon

Marvellous Matrix

Follow the directions for circling numbers in the matrix. Add all the circled numbers together. Note your answer. Try again with a different starting number. What do you notice?

St Ives

Stage: 2
Article by NRICH team

You have probably heard the old riddle about the man going to St Ives, but it seems that it may be older than you think!"

As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. The seven wives had seven sacks and the seven sacks had seven cats. The seven cats had seven mice. Wives, sacks, cats, mice: how many were going to St. Ives?

Have you ever tried to solve this problem? It seems that someone once solved a similar problem in ancient Egypt, although in a slightly different context. This problem was found on the Rhind Papyrus:


Houses 7
Cats 49
Mice 343
Spelt 2401
Hekat 16807
TOTAL 19607


This information was found in "The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers" by David Wells, but it didn't say what 'spelt' and 'hekat' were. What do you think they might be?