Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brothers and Sisters, I Have None

This is one of the first riddles I was able to remember consistently and I got it from my Dad.  A man looks at a portrait and says, "Brothers and sisters, I have none.  But that man's father is my father's son."  What is the relationship of the man in the portrait to the speaker? 







Solution: 
The official solution is that the man in the portrait is the son of the speaker.  However, an anonymous commenter pointed out that the man in the portrait could be the son of a deceased brother of the speaker, making him the speaker's nephew.  This depends on interpreting "Brothers and sisters I have none" as leaving open the possibility that the speaker once did have a brother. 

36 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Why would it be son? if he said "But that man's father is my father's son" so his son came from his father?

      Delete
    2. No, you're stupid. Read it again.

      Delete
  2. Or it's the nephew of a deceased brother... It doesn't say "Brothers and sisters, I have never had." But that could be cause it would ruin the rhyme.

    "Brothers and sisters I have never had. But that man's father is the son of my dad!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got a point. And I like your own version if the riddle!

      Delete
    2. That's exactly what the original sounds like. Like his father had a son. Grandpa lol

      Delete
  3. Anonymous has a good point about the deceased brother, but it would be his son, my nephew, not his nephew. And I like his revision to keep it rhyming.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was given this riddle in the 6th grade, I'm just now getting it and I'm 30

    ReplyDelete
  5. that is obviously Benjamin Franklin Dur. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. "But that man's father is my father's son.". why cannot it be a oertrait of himself he is looking at?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The man viewing the portrait and speaking the riddle cannot be looking at a portrait of himself: if it WAS a portrait of himself, then he would have to say "That man (the man in the portrait) is my father's son."

      But what he does say is "That man's FATHER is my father's son." Replace the phrase "my father's son" with one word - who is "my father's son"? If the man talking had no brothers, then "my father's son" refers to the man viewing the picture and speaking the riddle.

      So now we have a simplified riddle: The man viewing the subject of the portrait says "... That man's father is me." Therefore the man in the portrait is his son.

      Delete
    2. I figured this out many years ago, but to this day, my husband will not accept that the answer is "my son", but insists that it is "himself" in the portrait.

      Delete
  7. Curiously, the solution that he is looking at himself is the solution often given for this riddle. It is, however, not accurate at all. It can't be himself.

    ReplyDelete
  8. As in a maze, sometimes it is easier to work backwards, therefore:

    My fathers son = me (I have no brothers or sisters) and I am the father of “this man.” This man is my son.

    The best way to solve a riddle is not to read too much into it (eg possibility of deceased siblings)as there really is one answer. I do like the revised version re "Brothers and sisters I never had" - it works well :) The beauty of the riddle is in the writing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have no brother or sister, that mans father is my fathers son, who am i: I have no bro or sis but that man father is my father son meaning its my son.my father is the grandfather while im the father

    ReplyDelete
  10. the key to this is that the person speaking is looking at a portrait or picture....imagine him looking into a mirror! Who would the speaker then be?

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's the person himself thats saying the riddle. In otherwords it would be me if I was the one saying the riddle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You cannot possibly be your own son.

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Brothers and sisters I have none, BUT this man's father is my father's son.

    I think the emphasis should be on the word "but"... it shows a tempering the absolute, "...I have none."

    Might it be a step brother to the speaker?

    Just a thought after 2 cups of morning coffee

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's a portrait of himself

    ReplyDelete
  15. Could be his dead brother..."that man's father...is my father's son"

    ReplyDelete
  16. The way I remember it was "brothers and sisters have I none"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That makes so much sense.

      Delete
  17. "Brothers and Sisters I have none" = I am an only child.

    Pointing at the picture saying "that man's father is my father's son.".

    That mans father = my fathers son.

    That picture is me, the son of my father.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your 'equal' sign is a fine substitute for the word "is", but does not answer the question being asked. Try it again by substituting "That" with you 'equal' sign.

      Delete
    2. Wow, what a logic fail. You sounded so sure, too. Let's look at your answer. You say the picture is the speaker, or, in your words, "me".

      You use this equation:

      That man's father = my father's son

      Now, if the picture is of the speaker, then you can interchange "me" with references to the picture.

      The reference to the picture you use is "That Man". So, if we substitute, then:

      That man's father = my father's son

      becomes:

      My father = My father's son

      Your father can't be his own son, so your answer is wrong.

      Now, suppose you took the right answer, which is that the picture is of the man's son.

      Let's switch that in now and see what happens.

      That man's father = my father's son

      becomes:

      My son's father = my father's son

      Oh snap, willis. That's a true statement. And it is also the correct answer.

      Delete
  18. The answer is simple: no brothers and sisters, therefore completely discount. This Man = Answer; IS my father's son = me, a portrait of myself. Ignore all the blinds and work from answer backwards.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I disagree that there could be any other answer than I/My/This Man/Me ... The riddle clearly states that this man "is" my father's son. If this man had a brother, the riddle would say, this man "was" my father's son. Although, it is sentimental to refer to your deceased son (or brother) like this, it would be logically incorrect.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The riddle does not state this man is my fathers son, it states this mans father is my father's son.
    Son < Father < Grandfather
    This man<This man's father(my fathers son)< My father
    =
    This man<Me<My father
    So 'this man' is my son

    ReplyDelete
  21. Since I have no brothers or sisters, the phrase "my father's son" must be me. Therefore:

    This man's father = my father's son

    This man's father = me

    This man must be my son. QED

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think its a woman speaking. The man is her husband. Her father accepts him as his son while she doesn't count him as a brother.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Son-in-law and father-in-law.

    ReplyDelete
  24. so uhm whats the answer?

    ReplyDelete