An Arabic man is riding a camel across a desert expanse, when he encounters a novel sight. Three young Arabic men are fiercely arguing, surrounded by 17 camels. Dismounting, the stranger was told the problem. Their father had died, leaving (as their only real inheritance) these 17 camels. Now, the eldest son was to receive half of the camels; the second son, one-third of the camels; the youngest son, one-ninth of the camels. Problem: how could they thus divide the 17 camels?
The stranger adjoined his camel to the collection, making it 18 camels>. Then, the stranger apportioned 9 (= 1/2(18)) camels to the eldest son; 6 (= 1/3(18)) camels to the 2nd son; 2 (= 1/9(18)) camels to the youngest son. Having solved the problem and assuaged their argument, the stranger mounted his own camel and rode away.