One Grain of Rice: A mathematical folktale

By Demi

Long ago in India, there lives a raja who believed he was wise and fair. But every year he kept nearly all of the people’s rice for himself. When famine came, the raja refused to share the rice and the people went hungry. Then a village girl named Rani devises a clever plan. She does a good deed for raja, and in return the raja lets her choose her reward. Rani asks for just one grain of rice, doubled every day for thirty days. Through the surprising power of doubling, one grain of rice grows into more than one billion grains of rice – and Rani teaches the raja a lesson about what it truly means to be wise and fair.

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