Farmer Hobenstein has 24 cows, all of which never move at all. They are arranged on four sides of his rectangular house, 6 on each side, and there are windows through which he can watch them. He never goes out there, though.

One night the notorious Bellatrix Lestrange stole 12 of his cows. But still, Hobenstein could still see 6 cows on all four sides for ages.


  • $\begingroup$ How many windows are there? Total four, one for each side and centered in the sides? $\endgroup$ – newzad Jun 22 '16 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. centered, 180* view. $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ So from one window he can see three sides of the rectangle. am I right? $\endgroup$ – newzad Jun 22 '16 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ no, he can see the side of the window's wall and the corners. $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanAllan Surprisingly, no. It's not a really sensible puzzle. $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 17:21

Bellatrix moves six of the remaining cows to the northeast field, and moves the other six to the southwest field.

The next morning, Farmer Hobenstein stands in the northwest corner of his house. He looks through the north window and sees six cows. He looks through the west window and sees six cows.

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He moves to the southeast corner of his house. He looks through the east window and sees six cows. He looks through the south window and sees six cows.enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty good! There are lots of answers to this question, btw. $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @AravindSuresh: Then it'll be closed as "too broad". Puzzles should have one answer that stands out from the rest. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 23 '16 at 5:19

The thief could, amongst other schemes

line three cows on each diagonal of his rectangular house, so the farmer double counts them.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's correct too! $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 17:30

Bellatrix Lestrange steals 3 cows from each side. If Farmer Hobenstein has trouble counting then he counts the three cows he can see on each side twice by mistake. So he can still see 24 cows even though there are only 12

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  • $\begingroup$ So you mean in reality there are only 2 cows on each side, but Hob counts each side twice? $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ No, there are three cows on each side (12 cows divided by 4 sides) and he counts each cow twice $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jun 22 '16 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ is it like this: postimg.org/image/ibbya7hgh $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ if yes you are wrong. $\endgroup$ – Aravind Suresh Jun 22 '16 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @AravindSuresh I think there are many answers to this question. If think you should remove the (who has trouble counting) bit otherwise answers like these are actually correct $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jun 22 '16 at 17:24

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