An old farmer died and left 17 cows to his three sons. In his will, the farmer stated that his oldest son should get 1/2, his middle son should get 1/3, and his youngest son should get 1/9 of all the cows. The sons, who did not want to end up with half cows, sat for days trying to figure out how many cows each of them should get.
One day, their relative came by to see how they were doing after their father’s death. The three sons told him their problem. After thinking for a while, the relative said: “I’ll be right back!” He went away, and when he came back, the three sons could divide the cows according to their father’s will, and in such a way, that each of them got a whole number of cows.
What was the relative’s solution?