Riddle Me This Literature

riddles1People  are familiar with the Sphinx’s riddle “which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed”  but are probably less familiar with a second riddle accredited to her. “Two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?”

The answer are man  for the first riddle and day and night for the second.

 

The riddle is a common motif in literature. For a little midweek fun, I’m paying homage to some of the riddles that appear in many famous writings. Test your wits and see if you are as smart as some of the protagonist’s in your favorite novels.

And feel free to add more in the comments below.

 

 

From The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:

It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,

Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.

It lies behind stars and under hills,

And empty holes it fills.

It comes out first and follows after,

Ends life, kills laughter.

 

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Answer: Dark

 

 

From “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges:

In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only prohibited word?

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Answer: Chess

 

 

From Hamlet:

What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

 

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Answer: The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

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From The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart:

The answer to this riddle has a hole in the middle,

And some have been known to fall in it.

In tennis it’s nothing, but it can be received,

And sometimes a person may win it.

Though not seen or heard it may be perceived,

Like princes or bees it’s in clover.

The answer to this riddle has a hole in the middle,

And without it one cannot start over.

riddles 5

 

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Answer: Love

 

 

From Ulysses by James Joyce

What opera is like a railway line?

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Answer: The Rose of Castile. See the wheeze? Rows of cast steel.

 

 

From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:

riddles

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

 

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Answer: There is no answer given, but I like Aldous Huxley’s answer, because there is a ‘b’ in both and an ‘n’ in neither.

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