10
$\begingroup$

Samuel Dadit wanted to figure out the meaning of his life. He was thinking for many hours about it. But he could not find an answer. So he finally decided to find someone who could help him with his problem. But who could help him?

He turned to the internet for an answer. But a web search gave no useful result. So he decided to look for his answer elsewhere. He left his house and headed to the city center.

For quite a while he just wandered around in the city. He did not really know what exactly he was searching for. But then he noticed an unremarkable small shop which for some strange reason exerted a strong attraction on him.

He had a closer look at the rusty shop sign. The name of the shop was barely readable. A big owl was painted in the middle of the sign.

But there was something else on the sign. Something that remarkably was still well readable. "We answer your questions."

Now he knew he was in the right place.

He entered the small shop. It was dark inside. His eyes needed a moment to accomodate. Then he started looking for the shopkeeper.

The shopkeeper was sitting behind the counter in the middle of the room. Samuel hesitated a bit to ask his question. But then he remembered the text on the sign of the shop. This was certainly the place where his questions would get an answer. So he plucked up the courage to address the shopkeeper: "Good morning, sir."

"How can I help you?"

Samuel noticed that he was not properly prepared. So he decided to just ask directly: "I want to know the meaning of my life."

The shopkeeper showed not the slightest sign of surprise. "The meaning of your life is encoded in the story of your life. Every word counts."

That was all the shopkeeper said. Samuel was puzzled. But then he decided that it might help him to write his story down. Looking at the text indeed helped him to finally find the meaning of his life. Can you, too, decode his life?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Were you inspired by this, by any chance? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 17 '16 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor: Given that I hadn't seen that one, I could not have been inspired by it. Indeed, my main idea was not to have a separated out part to hide the message in. $\endgroup$ – celtschk Sep 17 '16 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. I was wondering if the same "count the words in each sentence" idea was being used here, but it doesn't seem to give a meaningful message (KHGNE...), unless of course there's another layer to the encryption. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 17 '16 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor: Well, I didn't encode each letter in a number. $\endgroup$ – celtschk Sep 17 '16 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ yeah.. I even tried ROT 13 and vigenere on that. Doesn't seem to work either... That owl seems important though.. $\endgroup$ – Sid Sep 17 '16 at 15:29
17
$\begingroup$

The name of the protagonist, Samuel Dadit, is a hint ...

... to the used encoding scheme: Morse code was invented by Samuel Morse and the short and long signals are sometimes called dits and dahs.

But how is the hidden message encoded?

The story has 12 paragraphs and each paragraph has one to six sentences. Each paragraph represents one letter. Sentences with an even number of words are dits, sentences with an odd number of words are dahs:

-.-.- ..-. --- ..- .-. - -.-- -....- - .-- --- .-.-.

The five-signal sequences at the beginning and end are just the prosigns for beginning the message and for ending a page. The rest decodes to:

F O U R T Y - T W O

So the meaning of Samuel's life is, unsurprisingly, ...

... Fourty-two (sic), which is, of course, the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, according to Deep Thought.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the five-signal sequences are not just decorative. Look up their meaning at Wikipedia. But it is nevertheless true that ignoring them doesn't remove anything from the message. Oh, and the long paragraph in the middle has six sentences, five unquoted and a quoted one. But otherwise, well done! $\endgroup$ – celtschk Sep 18 '16 at 5:18
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I admit I didn't didn't bother with non-letters when decoding. I'm not sure wheter something like "He said: 'I'm fine.'" really counts as two sentences, but I had to fix that in the third but last paragraph, so I could have seen it. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Sep 18 '16 at 6:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.