Anthropological Approach to a Geometrical Proof
-Quoted by Dai Siwiak
In the Old
West there were many tribes of Indians, with many and varied customs.
In one particular area of the Old Northwest, the chief of the tribe had
three squaws. The first wife and her son were reclining on a deerskin
just inside the entrance of the chief's wigwam. The second wife and her
son were resting on an elk skin farther inside. The third wife,
childless, was sitting on the hide of a hippopotamus right next to the
anthropologist was visiting the area and his Indian guide brought him
to meet the chief. The anthropologist was familiar with the customs of
many tribes and knew that wives who produced sons were very highly
regarded, more so than women who gave birth to daughters or who
produced no children at all.
were younger the wives vied to be the favorite of the chief. At his
coming of age, the son of the first wife entered the forests alone to
hunt for deer to feed the tribe. After several days he returned with a
massive buck and was hailed a man. Because of the deeds of the son, his
mother, the chief's first wife proudly assumed a seat next to the chief.
wife also bore a son to the chief. When he came of age, the son born of
the second wife traveled farther and wider than any other young brave
had done in search of more worthy prey. Weeks passed before his return,
but he brought a magnificent elk skin as proof of his successful hunt.
The deeds of this son so honored his mother and the chief, that the
second wife displaced the first wife and assumed the revered position
next to the chief.
third wife bore him no son. Instead, she herself traveled across the
western mountains, through the plains and eastern mountains. She
crossed the great ocean and traveled across Europe and then into Africa
whereupon she hunted the great animals of the jungles. Her prize was
the great river horse of Africa, the hippopotamus, whose skin she
brought to her husband. Still she bore no son for the chief. But the
third wife assumed the revered position next to her husband, for her
deed was bravest of all.
anthropologist asked his guide why the childless wife in this tribe was
treated with so much respect. The guide answered that although she bore
him no son, by her deeds it is proved that "The squaw of the
hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two
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