Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Unexpected Hanging

{I wrote a real article! Yep, I got legitimately-ish published last week, in the Classical Conversations daily online magazine. Click HERE if you want to read it :)}

A judge tells a condemned prisoner that he will be hanged at noon the following week, but that the hanging will be a surprise. The prisoner will not know the day of the hanging until the executioner knocks on his cell door at noon the day of.

After much thought, the prisoner realizes that he will escape the hanging.  The “surprise hanging” can’t be on a Friday, because if he hasn’t been hanged by Thursday, there's only Friday left – therefore it wouldn't be a surprise to be hanged on Friday.

The surprise hanging cannot be on Thursday either, because if he hasn’t been hanged by Wednesday night {and Friday has been eliminated}, then he'll know the hanging will be on Thursday--making a Thursday hanging not a surprise.

By continuing this line of thinking, the prisoner decides he cannot be hung on Wednesday, Tuesday or Monday either.

So he retires happily to his cell, confident that the hanging will not occur at all.

The next week, the executioner knocks on the prisoner’s door at noon on Wednesday — which, comes as an utter surprise to the prisoner.

Everything the judge said has come true.


P.S. Totally didn't make this up. I heard it in BritLit class :)