Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

Trick Donkeys puzzle





Trick Donkeys
One of Sam Loyd's most famous and perplexing problems. The Trick Donkeys is a reworking of a similar puzzle involving dogs that was published in 1857. The object of the Trick Donkeys puzzle is to cut the drawing along the two lines and rearrange the resulting three pieces so that the riders appear to be riding the donkeys.

Loyd sold his puzzle to P. T. Barnum, who marketed it as "P. T. Barnum's Trick Mules." Millions of copies were sold and Loyd earned a small fortune from the venture in a matter of few weeks."


Some hints posted on-line:
  • The puzzle has a few "extra lines" drawn in to draw your attention away from the answer. Don't think of the donkeys as being two donkeys, but as being four "parts" of donkeys.

  • It's not really a puzzle about arranging the mules. It's really a puzzle about ignoring some of what you probably see as implicit rules of the game. There aren't two donkeys, one on each piece. There are four donkey-parts, two on each piece.


Own your own!
Trick Donkeys
Superb replicas of Loyd's puzzle available from Tony Fatseas. Limited edition: 1,000 puzzles. Only $1.50 each plus $3.00 postage USD or 5 puzzles for $5.50 plus $3.00 postage. For more details, go to samuelloyd.com

Related category

   • GAMES AND PUZZLES