A young farmhand was once unfortunate enough to share a room at the inn with an old monk, who talked incessantly from evening's light to morning glow about matters of philosophy and science. Bored of the one-sided conversation, the monk soon proposed a challenge of wits.
The farmhand was uninterested in testing his wits against the monk, no matter how much his roommate raised the stakes. Finally the monk offered the farmhand substantial odds: "I will give you 50 gold coins for every question of yours I cannot answer, if you will give me 5 gold coins for every question YOU cannot answer."
At this, the farmhand agreed.
"Very well!" exclaimed the monk. He eagerly tried to think of a question sufficient to challenge the farmhand, but simple enough to keep the game interesting. "How would one measure the volume of an irregularly shaped object?" he asked, his eyes gleaming.
Without even bothering to think about it, the farmhand handed the monk 5 gold coins.
The monk was disappointed, but prepared himself for the farmhand's challenge.
For his turn, the farmhand pinched his face deep in thought. Finally, he asked: "What has the heart of a tiger, the wisdom of an eagle, and the strength of an ox?"
Delighted by the riddle, the monk leapt to his feet and began pacing around the room. For six hours he was mercifully silent as he pondered the farmhand's conundrum. Soon, he grew irritable. Eventually his face sunk with fury and disdain. "Alas, alas! I give up!" he cried, waving his arms. Reluctantly he withdrew a sack of coins and counted out fifty precious gold pieces for the farmhand. The tiller happily accepted his winnings.
The monk stared at his roommate. "Well!" he said at last. "What is the answer to your riddle?"
Wordlessly, the farmhand handed the monk 5 gold coins.