chapter  1
Descartes’ Discovery
Pages 11

There is a collection of old German tales about an alleged town called Schilda, sometime in the 17th century, whose inhabitants were not known for their intelligence. Here is one story [16]:

An army was approaching Schilda and would likely conquer it. The town council, in charge of the town treasure, had to hide it from the invaders. What better way than to sink it in the nearby town lake? So the town council members board the town boat, head for the middle of the lake, and sink the treasure. The town treasurer gets out his pocket knife and cuts a deep notch in the boat’s rim, right where the treasure went down. Why would he do that, the other council members wonder? “So that we will remember 2where we sunk the treasure — otherwise we’ll never find it later!” replies the treasurer. Everyone is duly impressed at such planning genius!

Eventually, the war is over and the town council embarks on the town boat again, this time to reclaim the treasure from the lake. Once out on the lake, the treasurer’s plan suddenly does not seem so smart anymore. No matter where they went, the notch in the boat’s rim told them they had found the treasure!