next up previous contents
Next: Outside work Up: Challenges! Previous: Eggs in the Basket

Five Pirates and a Monkey

Five pirates and a monkey are shipwrecked on an island. The pirates have collected a pile of coconuts which they plan to divide equally among themselves the next morning. Not trusting the others, one pirate wakes up during the night and divides the coconuts into five equal parts with one left over, which he gives to the monkey. The pirate then hides his portion of the pile. During the night, each of the other pirates does exactly the same thing by dividing the pile he finds into five equal parts leaving one coconut for the monkey and hiding his portion. In the morning, the pirates gather and split the remaining pile of coconuts into five equal parts and again one is left over for the monkey. What is the smallest number of coconuts the pirates could have collected for their original pile?

David J. Wright