The Greatest Riddle Ever Told

What goes into a great riddle? The delivery goes a long way. Make the details your own and your audience will be captivated. The timing helps as well. Yelling a riddle to a random group of people doesn’t prove to be very effective. Grab a crowd around a campfire or use the time that a long car ride can provide to baffle your friends. But what really makes a riddle great, and what makes this the greatest riddle ever told, is the answer. So here for you today, is the greatest riddle ever told:

The Riddle:
Lumberjack Billy and Lumberjack Zach are twin brothers. They both have equal amount of strength, endurance, and desire to cut down as many trees as possible. They are both assigned identical plots of land to do their lumbering. Same trees, same afternoon sun, and even the same poison-ivy patches. They are assigned identical shifts (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and are issued identical gear (axes, flannel, beards).

Lumberjack Billy’s method of working is to work his entire eight hours straight while taking no breaks. This man can chop, and his chopping strength never ceases throughout the eight hour shift. At the end of every day he manages to cut 100 trees. Not a bad day of chopping wood.

Lumberjack Zach’s preferred method of work is to chop trees for fifty minutes followed by a ten minute break. And he does this for the entire eight hour shift. So he works for fifty minutes, takes a ten minute break, works for fifty minutes, and takes a ten minute break, and so on. At the end of every day he manages to cut down 115 trees (15 more than his identical brother who doesn’t take any breaks).

So the riddle is, how does Lumberjack Zach, who takes 10 minutes of every hour not chopping wood, cut down more trees than Lumberjack Billy who works the entire eight hours straight?

The Answer
Like any great riddle, the answer is simple. During his ten minute breaks, Lumberjack Zack takes the time to sharpen his axe. Simple right? But like any good riddle, the answer can apply to everyday life. Lumberjack Zack goes to show the importance of taking a break every now and then to stay sharp. It can be tough in any lumberjack’s life to do his job effectively, especially if the tools you are using are dull and not well taken care of.

So there you have it, the greatest riddle ever told. Use it at your next BBQ, tell it between cubicles, if anything, remember to take that time in your life to take a break and stay sharp.

By Brad Lane