The riddle of the wolf, the goat and the cabbage is very well-known. We like it because, in a way, it represents a typical logistics challenge. Here’s how it goes:

A farmer wants to cross a river in a boat with a wolf, a goat and a cabbage. His boat is very small, so he can only take them one by one and cross the river several times. But he faces a dilemma: If the goat and the cabbage are alone on the shore, the goat will eat the cabbage. If the wolf and the goat are alone on one shore, the wolf will eat the goat.

Here’s the logistics dilemma: How can the farmer bring the wolf, the goat, and the cabbage across the river without any harm coming to them?

First of all, the farmer leaves the wolf with the cabbage and brings the goat to the other side of the river. He returns alone, takes the cabbage and exchanges it for the goat. The farmer returns the goat to the other side, where the wolf is waiting and exchanges the goat for the wolf and brings the wolf to the side of the river with the cabbage. Then the farmer returns for the last time. He takes the goat with him and arrives on the other side, where the wolf is waiting with the cabbage.

Read our next riddle: The Labyrinth of Knossos