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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Puzzle me this... » » Magic Shopping Puzzle (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

sashain
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Steve Shain
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To: Magic Café Puzzle Mavens

This is a puzzle that seems to be real magic. It is from a book of games and puzzles by John Fisher called John Fisher's Magic Book (Prentice Hall 1968). I found it a couple of days ago at Half Price Books.

The question is: Who paid for the wand and the book? You'll have to figure it out for yourself, the book provides no solution. With some thought you may figure out where the money came from to pay for the wand and book, but it is harder to see why the wizard ends up with them for free.

The story
Two neighboring countries of North Fantasia and South Fantasia decided to make it easier for magicians like you to shop in either country. They agreed that a North Fantasian dollar was to be worth exactly the same amount as the dollar of South Fantasia.

Several years passed and the government of Northern Fantasia then decreed that a South Fantasian dollar was to be worth only ninety cents in North Fantasia. To get even, the South Fantasian government ruled that from then on the North Fantasian dollar would be worth only ninety cents in South Fantasia.

Now, one of the many wizards of those magic lands happened to live in a house right on the border of the two countries and he liked to shop in both places. One day he visited a magic shop in North Fantasia, bought a new book of spells costing ten cents and paid for it with a North Fantasian dollar. For his change, he was given a South Fantasian dollar (worth ninety cents in North Fantasia).

He then crossed the border into South Fantasia, went into one of their magic shops and bought a new wand costing ten cents. He paid for it with the South Fantasian dollar and for change was given a North Fantasian dollar worth ninety cents in South Fantasia.

The wizard then went home. He still had a North Fantasian dollar just as he had had when he started. He also now had his new book of magic spells and his new wand. In addition, each shop still had an extra ten cents in its cash register. The mystery that no one has been able to solve is this: Who paid for the wand and the book? Or did the extra twenty cents appear suddenly from the land of Nowhere?

Though the book does not point it out, note that the wizard can keep repeating his purchases until he owns all the wands and book of spells that there are in the land of Fantasia. And not pay be out a cent!

Steve
Steve Shain
Houston, Texas
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27097 Posts

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Adam Smith would be proud of this one. Not so sure about the people's of North and South Fantasia though. Smile

I guess this is a good test of magical thinking.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
0pus
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Inner circle
New Jersey
1739 Posts

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And a better argument against government-imposed foreign exchange controls. . . but that's a political issue.
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