Puzzle #9: Sailors, Monkey and Coconuts

Thanks to Vikas Vats for contributing this puzzle, and was originally given to us by our class teacher in Class XI, Ravi Gopinath. This is an interesting one, though could be tough for children below 12 years of age.

Five shipwrecked sailors arrive at a deserted island that has only coconuts. They also see one monkey. The sailors collect all the coconuts and agree to divide up the coconuts into equal shares the next morning before looking for help. during the night each sailor wakes up one at a time and takes 1/5 of the coconuts and hides it. Each time there is one coconut left over and the sailor gives that to the monkey. In the morning they divide what is left of the pile into equal shares and there is still one coconut left for the monkey.

How many coconuts were there to begin with.

Suggestion: For children between 8 and 12 – ask them to solve the puzzle with just 2 sailors or 3 sailors.


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2 Responses to Puzzle #9: Sailors, Monkey and Coconuts

  1. sandeep says:


    generic for n sailors n^(n+1)-n+1

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