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Three Apples and One In The Bag

A teacher teaching Maths to seven-year-old asked him, “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”

Within a few seconds the boy replied confidently, “Four!”

The teacher was disappointed. “Maybe the child did not listen properly,” she thought. She repeated, “Listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”

The boy hesitatingly replied, “Four…”

The teacher thought for a moment and rephrased the question “If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many you will have?”

“Three?” Came the reply.
The teacher had a victorious smile. Her approach had succeeded. One last time she asked him, “Now if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple how many will you have?”

“Four!”, answered the boy.

“Four? How? Why can’t you understand this simple thing? What’s wrong with you? ” she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice.

“Because I already have one apple in my bag.” Replied the young boy.


This came to me as a forwarded email. The story exposes a very interesting insight. Check your assumptions before you start the blame game.

So many times in our life, when things make no sense, we take the easiest way out. Blame others for being irrational, insane or flat out evil.

How many times we take the puzzle as an opportunity to check our own assumptions?

It also reminds me a story of a small boy in our neighborhood. He used to come to play with us when we were kids. But many times, in the middle of the game, he would drop everything and run away to his home. We often made fun of him for that. Sometimes it would irritate us and we used to refuse to let him play.

Much later we learned that he was adopted and that he felt what they call a strong attack of separation anxiety. As a kid, he remembered that one day all of a sudden somebody adopted him. Deep inside he feared that all of a sudden he would be abandoned and would miss all the love and care he got.

We, naturally born kids of our parents, had taken all that love and care for granted. Since we did not know how it feels not to have it. He, on the other hand, remembered not having it and thus knew the true value of having a home. So if there was somebody stupid, it was us, the rest of the kids.

Evil is an instrument created by human mind to avoid introspection. Stupidity is a tool we use to hide our lack of compassion. Insanity is a cover up for our failure to understand alternative reasoning.

Being judgmental is the denial, the refusal to admit all the shortcomings above.

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