Some years ago, on a lovely Fall afternoon, a mother of four boys was at her wits end. They were being rambunctious, if you know what I mean. Finally she had an idea. There were several walnut trees in her yard and she had a trash barrel sitting empty next to the garage. She went outside and stood looking at it for some time when one of her sons asked her what she was doing. She told him she just wondered how many walnuts it would take to fill that barrel. She'd make cookies for the first boy who could provide the answer. Well, four brothers went at it with abandon. Rakes and shovels were employed. A red wagon was used to carry walnuts from the distant reaches of the property. Across the yard walnuts were collected and deposited in the trash barrel. Some three hours later four triumphant boys appeared in the kitchen to announce the barrel was full. Mom went to outside to inspect their accomplishment. Indeed, the barrel was full. And then she asked that fateful question: How many walnuts were in the barrel? Four boys looked at each other and realized they had forgotten to count the nuts. They had no idea. The deal was tell Mom how many would fill the barrel and cookies would be the reward. But Mom had another idea. She said each of them could have one cookie now and after the nuts were counted there would be a few more given to them. Out they ran and after a bit of time a number was determined, reported, and cookies were enjoyed by four brothers. And Mom, she just smiled and noticed how nice the yard looked.
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