Are you good at thinking outside the box? If so, then this humorous riddle could be the perfect way to engage your brain and indulge in some really creative thinking.
The task at hand involves a thief, a rope, a candle, and an incredibly hungry lion. Perhaps the most devious member of the puzzle family, the riddle is intentionally convoluted, so the solution may not be immediately obvious!
Take some time to ponder the riddle below and see if you can come up with a workable solution. If you try and fail, or simply want to know what the experts think, we’ve posted the “real” solution at the bottom of the page. Are you ready?
Here’s the conundrum: A poor thief is being put to trial for a minor crime with a massively disproportionate punishment. He has been tied to a tree branch by his ankles, upside down, by a group of wealthy merchants from whom he stole a loaf of bread. The rope that binds his ankles has been anchored to the ground. There’s a lit candle beneath the rope, threatening to burn through its fibers and send the thief crashing down to earth where a hungry lion is waiting to snare him for its dinner.
It is imperative that the thief survives this scenario. How will you save him?
Thinking Outside the Box
Since going viral, this riddle has prompted many puzzle aficionados to share their imaginative solutions to ensure the thief’s survival.
One BRiddles user suggested that the thief could wriggle free and fall on the lion, causing the lion to “faint,” thereby securing his survival. However, this solution still involves the thief succumbing to a rather nasty fall!
One social media user posting on Toluna 20 asked what would happen if the lion fell asleep before the rope burned out; another joked that the thief should “talk non-stop to the lion about his problems and how life has not been fair… the lion will get bored and run away!”
If fainting lions and verbal reasoning seem a little farfetched to you, however, then it appears there is only one true solution to this riddle. It has been under our noses all along; the clue is in the candle…
The Real Solution
Let’s revisit the original conundrum: A poor thief is being punished for stealing a loaf of bread. He has been tied to a tree branch by his ankles, upside down, by a group of wealthy merchants, and the rope that binds him has been tethered to the ground. There’s a lit candle beneath the rope, threatening to burn through its fibers and send the thief catapulting into the jaws of a very hungry lion.
The big question: How do we save him?
Simply sing the “Happy Birthday” song! The lion, realizing his birthday duty, will blow out the burning candle in celebration of his special day. The candle will no longer burn through the rope suspending the thief, and the thief will remain safely suspended until a benevolent passerby deigns to set him free.
Surely even a ravenous lion would struggle to resist the temptation of a birthday wish!
Did you solve the riddle? What were your out-of-the-box solutions? Do leave your answers in the comment box. Make others laugh with this brain-teasing conundrum and see if your loved ones have any wild or wacky thief-saving solutions to add to the conversation!