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The Three Wise Men Riddle

Updated on November 1, 2016

Once upon a time there lived a king who wanted to find an advisor who would help him with all the major decisions and solve difficult problems in the kingdom.

'Advisor to the King' was a very prestigious and lucrative position, and many people put themselves forward to apply for the role.

Finally the king (who was a bit of chauvinist, as kings were in those days) chose the three men he considered to be the wisest in the kingdom. To these men, he set a task to decide on which man would become his advisor.

He had the men put in a bare room furnished with just three wooden chairs, and blindfolded them. He then had a hat placed on each of the three men's heads.

The men, still blindfolded, were told the following:

"The hat that has been placed upon your head is either black or white. The one clue I will give you is that the hats are not all black. The three of you will now be left alone. When you know what color hat you are wearing, bang on the door and tell the guard. The first person to work out the color of his hat will be my new advisor."

Then the blindfolds were removed.

One of the men saw immediately that both the other men were wearing white hats, and that they both looked just as baffled and confused as he felt.

For three minutes, no-one spoke. Then, he rose and banged on the door. The guard answered.

The man said in a confident voice, "Please tell the King that the color of my hat is ... "

He was right. What color did he say?


Scroll down, as I don't want to give away the answer accidentally ...




Keep going ...




Nearly there ...




The man said in a confident voice, "Please tell the king that the colour of my hat is WHITE."

The men had been told that the hats were not all black. This left three possibilities:

1. Two black hats and one white.
2. Two white hats and one black.
3. Three white hats.

The men realised that if there were two black hats and one white, one man would have seen two black hats. Knowing that not all the hats were black, that man would have guessed immediately that his hat was white. However, no-one said this, so that left the second two possibilities.

If there were two white hats and one black, the two men wearing white hats would have seen that someone else was wearing black, and immediately guessed that his hat was white. Again, no-one said this.

Our wise man realised that that only left one possibility - all the hats were white. He was right, and he got the job!


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    • fridayonmymind profile image

      fridayonmymind 8 years ago

      Trsmd, you got the right answer! Congratulations, but I'm not going give away the answer here in case someone accidentally sees it and wants to work it out for herself :)