Once upon a time, a rich merchant died leaving 17 boxes

of jewels for his three sons. The merchant left a note, on

which was written that the first son got 1/2, the second son

got 1/3, and the third son got 1/9 part of the 17 boxes.

The sons wondered why their father left such a strange

note, as 17 boxes could not be divided by 2 or 3 or 9. This

created a problem. They argued among themselves as to

who will have how many boxes. The problem could not be

resolved and they went to a wise man for consultation.

The wise man brought his own box of jewels and added

it to the 17 boxes. Then the wise man said, “Now, there are

18 boxes. Half of 18 is 9, so the first son gets 9 boxes. One-third

of 18 is 6, so the second son gets 6 boxes. One-ninth

of 18 is 2, so the third son gets 2 boxes.”

The first son got 9 boxes, the second son got 6 boxes,

and the third son got 2 boxes. Adding up 9 + 6 + 2 was

equal to 17, which made up the total 17 boxes of jewels. The

18th box was the box of the wise man, which he kept with

himself. The wise man had added his own box of jewels, so

that it may serve as a common ground to solve the problem.

~0~

Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time: 100 Management Stories” by Rajen Jani

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