Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl who had a lot of lovers. Every guy wanted to marry her, be with her. Given a lot of options, she had reduced the candidates from 128 to 2. Yet it was impossible to make up her mind anymore; both of the candidates were almost equal. Thus, she decided to play the "patience game". She summoned both of her lovers and told them to ride to the Garden Way at midnight for there was a quest waiting for them.

At midnight in the Garden Way, there was quite a crowd. Everybody had heard about the quest for this beautiful lady and came down to watch it. Without any delay, she told what the quest was:

Tonight, both of you will start a quest for patience to prove your love to me. Whoever comes out as the winner - I will be yours, forever. Tonight, you will race for me. But this race requires your utmost patience. To win this race, your horse must be the last one to pass the finish line. Good luck and may the gods help you.

There was a sudden shock in the audience. Everybody was surprised. Both of the riders didn't even pinch. They waited for the other to retreat. It didn't happen.

After a full month, both lovers were still waiting. They were far from giving up. At midnight, there came a wise man of the town. He approached the lovers and gave them some advice. Following his advice they both started galloping rapidly, racing to the finish line as fast as they can.

What did this wise man say?

Please put answers in spoilers


5 Answers 5


He said to switch their horses. The condition was that whose horse would finish last, not them. So they exchanged horses, and raced to their full potential.

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ BUT WHO WON, I'M CURIOUS NOW $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 13:42

I would say it is exactly the other way around:

He said that he already switched their horses so they had to start as soon as possible. In this way, they have to start immediately (like in the question)


The wise man had said

If you switch horses you can attempt to make the other lose by getting their horse across. You do not have to pass last, your horse does!

Creating a race to the finish, a real race, not an endless one.


Alternatively, he could have told them that

someone who would have you wait on a horse for over a month to prove your love is not who you want to spend the rest of your life with! For the sake of your future happiness, get out now!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I like this answer so much more. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 23:30

Another option could involve reinterpreting the winning conditions. The wise man could have observed that

at the time the horse crosses the line, it's rider/owner will be the one whose horse last crosses the line. Evaluated at that moment, before any other horse crosses the line, the one whose horse that is wins, and the beautiful girl is "his forever." The fact that someone else's horse might cross line later that day or many years later is irrelevant, because once the winner is declared, the win is forever. So, in fact, the first person to cross the line is also the last because the contest then ends.

Consider the alternative:

What if one rider crossed the line and the other did not. Would the one who crossed (and was currently last) win, or would the contest continue indefinitely to see if the other rider eventually crossed or did not?


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