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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in riddles

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Am I?

The ancestors loved to hone their wits on a good, gritty riddle, especially on long winter nights. (Words in winter are light, they say.)  Here's one that occurred to me while out walking today.

Go ahead, kill me.

Break me in pieces;

see if I care.

In one winter's night,

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    I love the riddles in the Exeter Book, this is my favorite: Yes, I agree with your comments, border
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's interesting that, according to the conventions of the riddle genre--as, for example, among the Old English riddles in the Exe
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    That's it. I was out early enough that what, during the day, had been puddles of melt-water, were still frozen smooth.
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Fractured? Or melting and reforming.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Magic of Names

The Exeter Book is a collection of medieval poetry from the late tenth century written down by a single scribe. Amongst other treasures, it contains almost a hundred riddles. If you think of medieval monks as pious and devoted -- well, for one thing, you've probably not read Chaucer! Many of the riddles are bawdy and full of double entendres, just like the songs the monks would sing. 

Much of our casual information about life in the Middle Ages comes texts like these: details of natural phenomena or the habits of birds. Riddle 68 is particularly delightful not only for the vivid depiction of the magpie, but also the embedding of the runic puzzle of its name which adds an additional challenge to the reader. 'Hiroga' the Anglo-Saxon name for magpie is only apparent once you unscramble the runic letters.  

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