According to an old story, a farmer once found that a bag of corn had been stolen from his house. He went to the judge and told him about his loss. The judge ordered all the people of the farm to come before him. He took a number of sticks of equal length and gave one stick to each man.
He then said, Come before me again tomorrow. I shall then know which of you is the thief because the stick given to the thief will be one inch longer than the others The thief was afraid of being found out, and so he cut an inch off his stick The next day the thief's stick was found to be one inch shorter than any of the others'. In this way the thief was found out, and was at once taken away to prison.