My Mother’s Puzzle
My mother loved puzzles of every kind. As children we were encouraged to investigate clues and understand paradoxes, and the house was covered in puzzle books. She could crack most cryptic crossword puzzles in minutes and often wrote shopping notes in code, a mixture of Pitman shorthand and her own weird abbreviations.
This love of unravelling mysteries extended to logic games. Out of the blue I remembered one of hers this morning. Whether or not the solution is fair I leave that to you to decide. All I can say is that it reveals a lot about her mindset.
This is a true story (she told me). At our church an elderly man sat down in a pew just in front of a lady with a long blue peacock feather sticking out of her hat. The sermon was dreadfully dull and the day was hot. The old man fell asleep and dreamt that he was Thomas More going to the executioner. The axeman raised his axe and brought it down…
Just then, the lady with the hat dropped her hymn book and bent to retrieve it. As she reached forward, the peacock feather drooped and touched the back of the old man’s neck.
The old man fell down dead.
Why is this story untrue?