This is a short story, or rather puzzle, that I recently rediscovered in an old children’s book. The book is the 1982 Childcraft Annual called the “Puzzle Book” published by World Book, Inc. The reason for this post is for the delicious use ‘Google’, 15 years before the company was formed. The Google business name was a misspelling of the name ‘Googol‘, but the company decided to stick with the misspelling instead. Perhaps they would have reconsidered the name had they known this story!
I am including part of the story here – the actual answer to the riddle/puzzle will be left in the book – so you’ll have to find the book to know the answer (or figure it out yourself)!
Captain Laura Blazer, the Space Ranger, was in trouble. She was lost on the planet Raz. Her scout ship had run out of power and come down on an unknown part of the planet.
Caption Blazer could call her base on the radio. If she could let the base know where she was, another ship could be sent to rescue her. But she knew only that she was in the forest where the creatures known as Kikis and Googles lived.
Not much was known about these creatures. They were intelligent, and could talk. But, for some reason, they never answered more than one question from a stranger. It was known that while Kikis always told the truth, Googles always lied.
Captain Blazer had never seen a Kiki or a Google. But she know they did not look alike. And she knew that the land of Kikis was in one part of the forest and the land of the Googles in another part. If she could find out which country she was in, she could let here base know where she was.
She began to walk through the strange forest. Suddenly, she came face to face with two odd looking creatures. One must be a Kiki and the other a Google. But which was which?
Because she was a stranger, they would answer only one question. One of them would lie and the other would tell the truth. What one question could Captain Blazer ask that would let her know whether she was in the land of the Kikis or the land of the Googles?
(answer on page 167).