The Puzzle of the Hound and the Hare by Benjamin Banneker

When fleecy skies have Cloth’d the ground
With a white mantle all around
Then with a grey hound Snowy fair
In milk white fields we Cours’d a Hare
Just in the midst of a Champaign
We set her up, away she ran,
The Hound I think was from her then
Just Thirty leaps or three times ten
Oh it was pleasant to see
How the Hare did run so timorously
But yet so very Swift that I
Did think she did not run but Fly
When the Dog was almost at her heels
She quickly turn’d, and down the fields
She ran again with full Career
And ‘gain she turn’d to the place she were
At every turn she gan’d of ground
As many yards as the greyhound
Could leap at thrice, and She did make,
Just Six, if I do not mistake
Four times She Leap’d for the dogs three
But two of the Dogs leaps did agree
With three of hers, nor pray declare
How many leaps he took to Catch the Hare.

(Answer)
Just Seventy two I did Suppose,
An Answer false from thence arose,
I doubled the Sum of Seventy two,
But still I found that would not do,
I mix’d the Numbers of them both,
Which Shew’d so plain that I’ll make Oath,
Eight hundred leaps the Dog did make,
And Sixty four, the Hare to take

From: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/courses/teachers_corner/34224.html#name7

Date: c1790

By: Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)

Note: Benjamin Banneker was an African-American self-taught mathematician, astronomer and surveyor as well as a social activist. He collected and wrote various mathematics puzzles in his journals, of which this is one. If you are interested in following the working of this (or in investigating his other puzzles), click the link above to see a full working.

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