The Refund is an unusual story. A student who was a bad performer in school comes back to the school as a young man and wants a refund of all the fees that he paid. He jeers his professors, calling them names and tells them that they were as much “good for nothings” as he was and since he did not derive any value from them, it is only rightful that he be paid back all his tuition. He also threatens the school with legal action if they don’t return his money. The Principal is livid, but the Maths teacher sizes up the situation quickly and proposes a solution.
She says that each of the teachers would administer an oral quiz to him and if he gets even one question right, then he is deemed to have passed all his exams and so he will not be entitled to any refund, otherwise he can be given a refund if he fails to answer ALL of the questions correctly. According to her plan, every professor should ask him two questions – one easy and the other hard. The young man agrees to this proposition since he is determined to get his money and so he looks forward to answering every question incorrectly even if he knows the right answers to some or all of them. So, one by one, the teachers quiz him – the Biology professor, the English professor, the Chemistry professor and the Physics professor but he answers all of them incorrectly and is quite delighted at the progress he is making. The Principal feels uneasy but the Maths professor assures her that she can handle it. Finally it is the turn of the Maths professor. She says she is going to ask him the easy question first.
Her first question is, “If we represent the speed of light by X and the distance of the star Sirius from the Sun by Y, what is the circumference of a one-hundred-and-nine-sided regular polyhedron whose surface area coincides with that of the hip-pocket of a state railway employee, whose wife has been deceiving him for two years and eleven months with a regimental sergeant major of hussars”.
The young man is flummoxed with this question but recovers quickly and says “28 apricots” as the answer. There is tension in the air as the Principal and other Professors look expectantly in the direction of the Maths Professor, who coolly says that it is the wrong answer and that the correct answer is 27 apricots. The young man is greatly relieved and looks extremely happy in flunking this quiz. The Maths teacher turns around to the horrified Principal and coolly says that the young man is right about asking his fees back and that the school should refund him.
The Maths teacher turns to the young man and asks him how much the school owes him. Overjoyed at the prospect of getting some money, the young man goes over each year and the fees for that year in detail and comes up with the final amount the school owes him. All along as he is counting mentally and saying what is due to him, the Maths teacher writes the figures down on a piece of paper and calculates the total. Finally the teacher acknowledges to the young man that his mental arithmetic adds up correctly. The young man says that they can bet on it since he has it all worked out.
That is when the Maths Professor drops the bombshell that her asking him what the school owed him was her “hard” question and that since he got it right, he has now passed his course with flying colors and so the school doesn’t owe him anything now. That is when the young man realizes that he has been tricked and as he prepares to leave the school in disgust, he is mocked at by each of the professors in turn.