A Wolf, a Sheep, and a Cabbage are crossing a river – Riddle

This is a very old riddle that has been thought on by thousands of people for over 1,000 years. Can you figure out the answer before looking at the solution?

The Riddle:  A farmer is on his way home with a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage. As he makes his way along the path, he comes to a river blocking his route. There is a very small boat that he can use to cross the river, however it is tiny and can only fit the farmer plus one item (either the wolf OR the sheep OR the bag of beans). He wants to get home with all three of his finds. The problem however is that he leaves them together, the wolf will eat the sheep, and the sheep will eat the bag of hay.

How can he cross the river and make it home with all three items without anything getting eaten?

river crossing riddle wolf sheep cabbageThe Solution:
Remember, the farmer wants to make it home with all three of his items intact. He cannot leave the wolf and sheep together (they’ll eat each other), and he cannot leave the sheep and cabbage together (the sheep will eat the cabbage). It will require multiple trips across the river, but it can be done! The farmer must go through a total seven trips to accomplish his goal. Here they are:

Step 1. Take the sheep.
The farmer takes the sheep across to the other side of the river. This leave the wolf alone with the cabbage (no problem as the wolf hates the cabbage!)

Step 2. Return.
The farmer then returns to the original side.

Step 3. Take either wolf or cabbage.
He then takes either the wolf or the cabbage over the river to be with the sheep (either one it does not matter). Now, before you get too concerned yes, I know that either choice would be a disaster – don’t worry, there is the trick! Read Step 3.

Step 4. Return with the sheep!
Here is the key. Instead of leaving the sheep to be eaten by the wolf or the sheep to eat the cabbage, the farmer solves this problem by keeping an eye on the sheep by returning with the sheep!!

Step 5. Take either wolf or cabbage.
Now that he is on the original side he will return back to the farside with whatever was left there (either the wolf or the cabbage). But he will leave the sheep.

Step 6. Return.
There’s only one thing left now on the original side to fetch! The sheep!

Step 7. Take the sheep.



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