The Odd Estate

& huffle any deck and run through it with the mentioned intention of removing three aces, in order to illustrate a story about a very confusing will left by a early settler in New England. As this is being done, you also see to it that a deuce, trey, and nine spot are moved to the top (or back) of the deck (and in that order from top down) and the Joker of the pack finds his place at the face, or bottom. Of course, it is easy enough, at most times, to prepare this part a minute before.

Three aces are put face up in a row on the table, emit the Ace of Spades because it doesn't fit with the other small pip aces in this case. Riffle shuffle the deck, keeping the three top cards and bottom Joker in place. Prom here on we'll let the story theme explain things.

Explain that the old farmer died and left his estate to three relatives. The will mentioned fractional proportions to each. Now deal the top card slightly overlapping the first ace, saying, "A deuce. Well, that gives this person one-half of what was left." Deal the next card face up onto the next ace. "A three. That gives someone else one-third." The next card dealt onto the next ace is a nine. "And here we have someone not so well in favor who gets one-ninth."

"It seems as if the farmhouse and buildings were mortgaged to their value when the old fellow passed away, and all that was left for the heirs to divide was a herd of cows. Let's take these values showing, add them, nine,three,two, one,one,one, and presume the number of cows to be 17." You count of 17 cards face down into a pile. "And now, how would you go about settling the estate?"

As the problem stands it just can't be done, that is, without carving a cow, and that happens to be something over v/hich the heirs are won't to wrangle and finally refuse to countenance.

So, in order to settle the problem, a wise hermit was brought into the picture, and the modern Solomon, after careful consideration, added his single cow to the field of 17. As an illustration, the performer takes the Joker from the deck's bottom and adds it to the bottom of the 17 stack.

Now, he says, "Take the first heir. He gets one-half. That's one-half of 18, or, nine." And nine cards are dealt below the A/2 pile. "Next gets one-third. One-third of 18 is eix." And six cards are dealt below the A/3 pile. "Lastly comes the one-ninth share. One-ninth of 18 is two." Two cards are dealt below the A/9 pile. "And, my friends, that left the wise old hermit's cow behind, and unwanted by all except the old hermit himself who promptly took him back and disappeared into the mountains." The last card is turned to show the Joker safe.

That's all, but it does hold attention. The business of apparently using what fraction cards turn up at random, plus the adding to obtain the 17 herd pile, will prevent anyone being suc-cesful if they try it, because this combination is the only one that will work.

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