Home > Humor of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 1/13/2013 Next >>

Don't Believe Everything You Read: 4 Becomes 5

In his Esquire essay "I Say It's False" in 1939, Parke Cummings wrote the following...

Q: Two and two are four. Yes or No?

A: No! Careful study of history shows that prior to 1363, the word "four" was used to connote the number currently known as "five." A monk, named Groschius, in adding a simple sum, inadvertently put down "five" as the total of three added to two, and future scholars who got hold of his work moved the number "four" back a notch. The error was not discovered until recently.

A Side Note: In 1764, a person named Joannes Andreas Groschius did exist and published the mathematical text Logica Probabilivm In Artivm Practicarvm Svbsidivm Adornata. Also, a person named Erfurtum Groschius was the publisher of books in 1685.