A Tangled Tale
Lewis Carroll
Children
3:16 h
Level 5
A Tangled Tale is a collection of 10 brief humorous stories by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), published serially between April 1880 and March 1885 in The Monthly Packet magazine. Arthur B. Frost added illustrations when the series was printed in book form. The stories, or Knots as Carroll calls them, present mathematical problems. In a later issue, Carroll gives the solution to a Knot and discusses readers' answers. The writer's intention was to embody in each Knot (like medicine so dexterously, but ineffectually, concealed in the jam of our early childhood) one or more mathematical questions – in Arithmetic, Algebra, or Geometry, as the case might be – for the amusement, and possible edification, of the fair readers of that magazine.

A Tangled Tale

by
Lewis Carroll


“At a Pace of Six Miles in the Hour.”Frontispiece.


To My Pupil

Beloved pupil! Tamed by thee,
Addish-, Subtrac-, Multiplica-tion,
Division, Fractions, Rule of Three,
Attest thy deft manipulation!

Then onward! Let the voice of Fame
From Age to Age repeat thy story,
Till thou hast won thyself a name
Exceeding even Euclid’s glory!


Preface

This Tale originally appeared as a serial in The Monthly Packet, beginning in April, 1880. The writer’s intention was to embody in each Knot (like the medicine so dexterously, but ineffectually, concealed in the jam of our early childhood) one or more mathematical questions — in Arithmetic, Algebra, or Geometry, as the case might be — for the amusement, and possible edification, of the fair readers of that Magazine.

L. C.

October, 1885.


Knot I.

Excelsior

“Goblin, lead them up and down.”

The ruddy glow of sunset was already fading into the sombre shadows of night, when two travellers might have been observed swiftly — at a pace of six miles in the hour — descending the rugged side of a mountain; the younger bounding from crag to crag with the agility of a fawn, while his companion, whose aged limbs seemed ill at ease in the heavy chain armour habitually worn by tourists in that district, toiled on painfully at his side.

As is always the case under such circumstances, the younger knight was the first to break the silence.

“A goodly pace, I trow!” he exclaimed. “We sped not thus in the ascent!”

“Goodly, indeed!” the other echoed with a groan. “We clomb it but at three miles in the hour.”