Anew riddle is making the rounds on social media as the temperatures get colder and more people are staying home again. This riddle talks about Mr. and Mrs. Mustard and asks how many children they have total, given certain information about their daughters and sons. Here’s a look at the answer to the riddle and the answer.
The riddle typically reads like this:
Mr. and Mrs. Mustard have 6 daughters and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the Mustard family?
Are you ready for the answer? Read on below.
Here’s the Answer to the Riddle
Here’s the answer:
There are nine people in the Mustard family.
The answer is nine because we start out with six daughters, then Mr. and Mrs. Mustard themselves (since they are part of the Mustard family), and finally one brother. This is because “each daughter” has “one brother.” And we’re told that “Mr. and Mrs. Mustard” have six daughters. This implies that they are the parents of all six daughters, so if each daughter has just one brother, then all six daughters share the same brother.
We’re assuming the phrase “Mr. and Mrs. Mustard have six daughters” means that none of the daughters are half-siblings. Theoretically, one might try to make things more complicated by saying there’s a broader interpretation where there are six daughters total, and some possibly belong to just Mr. Mustard or just Mrs. Mustard, and the “six daughters” phrase is simply the total daughters added up between the two adults. But then things would get far too confusing. Imagine Mr. Mustard had Daughter A with a different mother, Mrs. Mustard had Daughter B with a different father, and as a couple they had Daughter C. Daughter C had one brother, Daughter B had a different brother (Daughter C’s half-brother) and so on. If you allowed for multiple parent combinations, you really couldn’t have an answer as it would be impossible to know how many of the daughters were half vs full siblings. So we really have to assume the riddle is read literally and the six daughters all belong to Mr. and Mrs. Mustard and there are no half-siblings involved. Otherwise, you can’t have a known answer.
This Is Similar to the ‘Mr. Smith’ Riddle
If this riddle sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to the “Mr. Smith (or Mr. Harry) has four daughters” riddle. That riddle reads:
Mr. Smith has 4 daughters. Each of his daughters has a brother. How many children does Mr. Smith have?
The answer comes to a similar conclusion — that the daughters share the same brother, so there are five children total. However, that one actually leaves room for interpretation, since his daughters could all be born to different mothers. This new Mr. and Mrs. Mustard riddle clears up that confusion, leaving only one possible answer that makes any sense.
This is just one of many riddles that are circulating on sites like Facebook and Instagram during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’ve seen the “How Many Ducks Do You See?” riddle and were stumped, check out Heavy’s explanation here. If you ran into the “I Met a Man on London Bridge” riddle and have no idea what the man’s name is, you can find the answer in Heavy’s story here. The answer to the “You Enter a Bedroom” riddle is here, and the answer to the “Can You Open the Lock Using These Clues?” riddle is here.