“The Ten Travelers”


Ten weary, footsore travelers,
All in a woeful plight,
Sought shelter at a wayside inn
One dark and stormy night.

“Nine beds — no more,” the landlord said,
“Have I to offer you;
To each of eight a single room,
But the ninth must serve for two.”

A din arose. The troubled host
Could only scratch his head,
For of those tired men, not two
Could occupy one bed.

The puzzled host was soon at ease —
He was a clever man —
And so to please his guests devised
This most ingenious plan.

In room marked A, two men were placed,
The third he lodged in B,
The fourth to C was then assigned —
The fifth retired to D.

In E the sixth he tucked away,
In F the seventh man;
The eighth and ninth in G and H,
And then to A he ran,

Wherein the host, as I have said,
Had laid two travelers by;
Then taking one, the tenth and last,
He lodged him safe in I.

Nine single rooms — a room for each —
Were made to serve for ten.
And this it is that puzzles me
And many wiser men.

— S.R. Ford, Ford’s Christian Repository & Home Circle, May 1888