Ten weary, footsore travellers,
All in a woeful plight,
Sought shelter at a wayside inn
One dark and stormy night.
'Nine rooms, no more,' the landlord said
'Have I to offer you.
To each of eight a single bed,
But the ninth must serve for two.'
A din arose. The troubled host
Could only scratch his head,
For of those tired men not two
Would occupy one bed.
The puzzled host was soon at ease -
He was a clever man -
And so to please his guests devised
This most ingeneous plan.
In a room marked A two men were placed,
The third was lodged in B,
The fourth to C was then assigned,
The fifth retired to D.
In E the sixth he tucked away,
In F the sventh man.
The eighth and ninth in G and H,
And then to A he ran,
Wherein the host, as I have said,
Had laid two travellers by;
Then taking one - the tenth and last -
He logged him safe in I.
Nine singe rooms - a room for each -
Were made to serve for ten;
And this it is that puzzles me
And many wiser men.
This poem appeared in Current Literature, vol 2, April 1889. No author was credited.