This article contains a mystery. Your job is to use some critical thinking skills to answer some questions and solve the mystery. This mystery is for children and parents.
At the Bourdoughtoux Cheese Farm they make lots and lots of cheese. They make mozzarella cheese, bleu cheese, parmesan cheese, Swiss cheese, and that icky kind of cheese that gets stuck in your teeth. In fact, they make any kind of cheese, except American cheese. Pierre is the owner of the Bourdooughtoux Cheese Farm.
Pierre: No, we do not make zee substance zay call “American Cheese.” Bah! It is not cheese!
Underneath the Bourdooughtoux Cheese Farm is a cave where the cheeses are kept. Some are kept in the cave for a long time to make them taste good.
In one part of the cave are kept the very old cheeses. These cheeses are so old and valuable that they are very rarely sold or eaten. Hairy mold eventually grows on these cheeses and they begin to look strange.
Pierre: The mold is what make cheese good! Ah! Is magnifique cheese! Our small Moosechoux cheese. It has been in our cellars for one hundred year! By now, it will taste délicieux!
This famous Moosechoux cheese is stored in a wooden crate. Occasionally a visitor who is interested in buying it can see it.
This morning, the Duke of Chisum asked to see the Moosechoux cheese. Pierre took him into the cave and opened the box. Suddenly, the lights went out. When the lights were turned on again, the Moosechoux cheese had disappeared!
Constable Dobson was called to investigate. The first thing Constable Dobson did was obtain eyewitness accounts of what happened. An eyewitness is somebody who clearly saw or heard something surrounding the event in question, and who can tell us about it.
Pierre: I was in zee cave with zee Duke of Chisum when I opened zee box. There was zee cheese. Magnifique it was! Then, poof! All zee lights go out and it is dark. I hear someone yell. I say, “Turn zee lights on!” Then zee lights go back on and mon ami! The magnifique Moosechaux, it is gone!
Duke of Chisum: This is monstrous! I was about to buy that cheese when it was pinched out from under my nose! Monstrous I say! All I know is when the lights went out somebody brushed past my leg. I heard a sound near where the box was, then somebody brushed past my leg again.
Constable Dobson: How long were the lights out?
Duke of Chisum: About two minutes, I would say.
Cossette: I was upstairs in the kitchen making parmesan cheese when I heard Pierre yell to turn the lights on. I ran to the steps and found the light switch turned off. I turned it back on.
Jean-Claude: It was not I who took the Moosechoux. I was with a customer, Brinckley the Butler, in the Swiss cheese section. I heard a loud thud on the stairs, then the lights went off.
Brinckley the Butler: Yes sir. I was visiting the farm for the purpose of purchasing a quantity of Swiss cheese for my employer. I am afraid that I am not in possession of any substantive clues to aid in your investigation, sir. However, when the lights were extinguished, I heard something knocked off a shelf. When the lights returned, I was able to ascertain that a small block of Swiss cheese had been dislodged from a bottom shelf and lay upon the floor—presumably the result of the thief passing by in a hurried fashion. Will that be all, sir?
Marvin is an especially large cat who sits on the steps leading to the cellars watching everybody.
Constable Dobson: Did you see anything?
Circumstantial evidence is another type of clue. Circumstantial evidence is evidence which does not directly tell us what happened, but which requires some reasoning to figure out what it means. This could include cheese crumbs on the floor, footprints made by the thief, or the fact that somebody had a motive to steal the cheese—these things could be interpreted in different ways.
Below is some circumstantial evidence which Constable Dobson has gathered.
Solution A: Circumstantial evidence 1, and 6 seem to support this. However, evidence 4 indicates that the cheese is not in the cave.
Solution B: Pierre’s account as well as evidence 8 supports this. However, this does not explain the crumbs found on the scene, as well as the fact that the switch had been turned off.
Solution C: the Duke of Chisum, Cossette, and Brinckley the Butler’s accounts as well as evidence 1, 2, 4, and 7 seem to support this. However, this does not explain who could have done it.
Cossette: Look at Marvin the Cat. He looks ill!
Marvin the Cat: Burp!
Pierre : Look! Cheese crumbs on his whiskers! It was you! Zee cat ate my beautiful Moosechaux! Oh, terrible!
Marvin the Cat: Meaux!
Cossette: I think he just said the Moosechoux tasted like American Cheese.
Constable Dobson: That just about clears this case up. Marvin the Cat must have seen the cheese in the cave, jumped up and flicked off the light, ran down and stole the cheese, then came here to eat it.
Marvin the Cat: Meeeow.
First appeared in Homeschooling Today magazine, September-December 2005.
Copyright September 01, 2005, all rights reserved. 7376 views