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一個數學問題

  比爾是一個好學生,也是個聰明的孩子。他喜歡學數學,課本上所有的數學問題他都能不費勁地解答。

  有一天,在上學路上,比爾經過一家水果店。該店窗戶上有個招牌上寫著:「蘋果--五美分六個。」比爾腦筋一轉,進了店門。

  「蘋果怎麼賣?」

  「五美分六個。」

  「但我不想要六個。」

  「你想要幾個?」

  「這不是我想要幾個的問題。這是個數學問題。」

  「數學問題?你說這話是什麼意思?」

  「你看,如果六個蘋果五美分,那麼五個蘋果四美分,四個蘋果三美分,三個蘋果二美分,二個蘋果一美分,一個蘋果就不要錢。我只要一個蘋果,如果一個蘋果一分錢也不要的話,那我也就沒必要給你錢了。」

  比爾揀了一個好蘋果,開始吃了起來,然後興高采烈地邁出了店門。那個售貨員吃驚地望著這個小男孩,一句話也說不出來。

A Problem in Arithmetic

Bill is a good student and an intelligent boy. He likes to study arithmetic, and he can do all of the arithmetic problems in his book easily.

One day on his way to school Bill passed a fruit store. There was a sign in the window which said, "Apple-Six for five cents." An idea came to Bill and he went into the store.

"How much are the apples?" he asked the store.

"Six for five cents."

"But I don't want six apples."

"How many apples do you want?"

"It is not a question of how many apples I want. It is a problem in arithmetic."

"What do you mean by a problem in arithmetic?" asked the man.

"Well, if six apples are wroth five cents, then five apples are worth four cents, four apples are worth three cents, three apples are worth rwo cents, two apples are worth one cent and one apple is worth nothing. I only want one apple, and if one apple is worth nothing then it is not necessary for me to pay you."

Bill picked out a good apple, began to eat it, and walked happily out of the store. The man looked at the young boy with such surprise that he could not say a word.