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Riddle me riddle
Guess me this riddle
And perhaps not!

1. My father have a thing in his yard; nobody can ride him but little Johnny.

--Grass-quit riding a grass-stalk.

2. My father have a thing in his yard and never ride him till him back break.

--House-roof; a man sits astride it to mend the thatch.

3. My father have a little pony in him yard and there's only one man, little Johnny, can ride it. Johnny ride with a pair of white reins and he go over a bridge.[1]

--Needle is the pony, thread the reins, the crooked finger is the bridge, and the thimble is Johnny.

4. My father has a horse in his yard; it jump an' jump, an' de rein get shorter an' shorter.

--Needle and thread.

5. My father have a grey horse in him yard, ride him nowhere but on him tail.[2]


a) My father saddle his horse at his head an ride him at his tail.

6. My father have a horse in his yard; you can't ride him or he buck into you.


7. Me fader hab a cock in him yard; eb'ry crow him crow fire.


a) My father have a dog in his yard; every time it bark it bark fire.

b) My fader hab a donkey, an' eb'ry bray him bray fire.

[1. Cf. No. 140, p. 199.

2. Cf. No. 142, p. 199.]

{p. 184}

8. My father have a thing in his yard and he run from yard to yard.


9. My father have a hen in his yard, you kyan' tell what the chicken be till he hatch.[1]

--Wife; you can't tell whether the child
will be boy or girl until it is born.

10. My father have a thing in his yard, cry for the crop once a year.


11. My father has a thing in his yard; the more him feed, the more him hungry.


12. My father have a thing in his yard, have to blind it to use it.


13. My father have a t'ing in him yard; when it sick it look up to heaven, when it get better it look down to the devil.[2]

--Bunch of Bananas.

14. My father has a cock in his yard, doesn't crow till the sun is hot.

--Castor-oil bean, which
cracks open in the sun.

15. My father have a thing in his yard, run off cover up the whole ground.


16, My father have ten trees in his yard an' two taller than the rest.


17. My father got a tank in his yard, don't care how the rain come never catch water; but soon as little dirt get into it, it full.


18. My father have a tank in his yard; when the rain fall it doesn't catch and when the dew fall it catch.

--Coco leaf, because it
sheds water like quick-silver.

19. My father have a thing in his yard; it button from head to foot.

--Pingwing, because the
leaves are stuck with pitch.

[1. Cf. Suaheli {Swahili?--jbh} (Velten):

85. There Is a buried thing; who can tell the sort of banana, to him will I give an amulet.

--Woman with child.

2. Cf. No. 114, p. 196.]

{p. 185}

20. My father have a t'ing in him yard, cutting like a tailor cutting cloth.[1]

--Banana leaf (because when the tree
begins to fruit, the leaf slits into ribbons.)

21. My father got a thing in his yard deep as well an' is not well, an' the whole sea does not fill it.


22. Me fader have a t'ing in him yard; the more you cut it the longer it get.[2]


a) My father make a door an' it was too short; he cut it and it became longer.

b) Me father have a stick an' cut it an' it become longer.

23. My father have a thing in his house, cut it every day and kyan' taste it.


24. We have a t'ing in the yard an' no man can tell where it end.

--Buggy wheel.

25. My father have a white house in him yard; if you go in you kyan' come out, if you come out you kyan' go in.[3]


26. My father have a house without window or door.


a) There is a white house on the hill up yonder without a window, without a door; and yet somebody live in there.'

[1. Cf. No. 113, p. 196.

2. Cf. No. 64, p. 190. English: Riddles (Boston):

What thing is that which is lengthened by being cut at both ends?

--A ditch.

3. Cf. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

288. Una arquita muy chiquita, blanquita como la sal; todo el mundo la sabe abrir, pero nadie la sabe cerrar.

Cf. West Highlands (Campbell):

A little clear (?) house and its two doors shut.

Suaheli (Velten):

4. My house has no door.

Suahili (Steere):

1. My house is large; it has no door.

Eastern Bantu (Seidl):

9. There is a house without a door.

Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

291. Una casa sin ventanas sin puerta ni brujeria,
que tiene un galán adentro, por dónde se meteria?

Canadian: Ontario, JAFL 31:68:

A little house full of meat,
No door to go in and eat.

--A nut.


{p. 186}

27. Me fader hab a man an' he kyan' stan' up till him belly full.


28. Me father have a black servant and when he feed her she bawl.[1]


29. My father have three daughters and you can't tell me the oldest one.

--Three tumblers.

30. Me fader hab a lil bwoy sleep wid him every night; and every call him call him, de lil bwoy run.


31. MY father have twenty-five white horses in a row; if one trot all trot, if one gallop all gallop, if one stop all stop, and one cannot go on without the other.[2]


32. Me fader hab a long whip and a number of cows; ebery wield him wield it, it touch ebery one.[3]

--Tongue and teeth.

33. Me fader hab a horse; eb'ry lep em lep em lef' piece a em gut.

--Needle and thread.'

[1. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

24. A Grandmother sits on the stool and weeps there.


2 Cf. Nursery Rhymes of England (Halliwell):

CXLVIII. Thirty white horses on a red hill, Now they tramp, now they champ, now they stand still.

3. Cf. Holme riddles:

(125) Four and twenty white Bulls sate upon a stall, forth came the red Bull & licked them all.

Yorkshire riddles (Notes & Querries, 3rd series, VIII):

Four-&-twenty white beasts,
And t' red one licks them all.

Canadian: Ontario, JAFL 31: 67


3. I puzzle you with a goat-ram which grazes, and white goats; it moves about much, but they eat in one place.


XVIII. Un convent de monjas blancas, dintre hi ha un frare vermell que 'ls hi repica las ancas.

4. Cf. Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell):

LX. What is it goes through thicke & thin
And draws his guts after him?

Holme riddles:

(59) Wha is that as goes throw the heye and leves his gutes after it.


33. What goes through the hedge and leaves its guts behind?

Canadian: Ontario, JAFL 31: 69.]

{p. 187}

34. My father have a pony; every jump he jump he stop a gap.

--Needle and thread.

35. My father have a horse and a spur; every time he spur, blood will flow.

--Match-box and match.

36. My father have a horse and every walk he walk he drop silver.


37. My father have a horse; carry him down to the river to drink and without he pull out the tongue, can't drink.

--Bottle and cork.

38. My father have a horse; hol' him a' him two ears, him bite a him tail.


39. My father have a rooster, got no coop can keep him but one.

--Fire; only water can keep fire.

40. My father have a pig; cut him at his head he don't die, cut him at his tail he die.


41. My father have a pen of sheep an' don feed nowhere but on the hill-side.

--Lice on the head.

42. My father has a bull, can't feed but upon three ridges.

--Cooking-pot with three legs.

43. My father have a houseful of children; if you touch one, whole of them cry.

--Gungo peas.

a) My sister have a whole house o' pickney and if you touch one, everyone cry.

b) I have a whole pen of guinea-pig an' if you touch one dey all holla.

44. My father has a houseful of children and everyone of them has a red cap.[1]


a) Me fader come out wid a whole ship-load o' Guinea people; everyone has red.

[1. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

41. All my children have on turbans.


46. My children all wear clothes and a cap on the side of the head; who has no garment and no cap, he is not my child.

--Fingers. (?)

54. I have seen twenty children in a row with bright frocks on.

--Crows. Suahili (Steere):

6. My children have turbans; he who has no turban is no child of mine.

--A kind of fruit.


{p. 188}

45. My father has a houseful of children; every time they come out they come out with red head.


46. Me fader hab a houseful o' chil'ren an' eb'ryone a dem a blackhead.


a) Me ma ha' one Guinea ship a pickney; eb'ryone a dem head black.

b) A woman has a whole lot of children and all come out with black heads and red dresses.

47. My father has a houseful of children and everyone of their heads turn out of doors.

--Nails in a house.

48. Me fader have a whole shipload of Bungo nager an everyone have a white head.

--Castor-oil bean.

a) My father hab a whole house of children; everyone have a white head.

b) Me mudder hab a whole shipload o' guinea-pig, all born at one quality head.

49. My father has a shipload of Guinea people, but all their heads is turned down.

--Bottles packed in straw.

50. Me fader hab a Guinea ship o' nager; eb'ryone o' dem a t'ree foot.


51. My father sent for a ship-load of men and everyone come with arm akimbo.[1]


52. My father sent for a ship-load of soldiers and everyone come with one eye.


a) Me fader hab a whole Guinea ship a nager; eb'ryone come wid one eye.

b) I hab a pen o' sheep, but eb'ryone hab one eye.

53. My father have a piece of white yam that serve the whole world.[2]


a) One piece a afoo (white) yam nyam, serve the whole worl'.

b) One piece of yellow yam serve the whole world.

c) Me fader hab a half side o' bammie (cake of kasava meal) an' him share it fe de whole world.

[1. Cf. No. 116, p. 196.

2. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

77. My half cocoanut spreads over the whole town.


Filipino (Starr):

78. A single grain of rice filled the whole house.



{p. 189}

54. Me fader hab a pepper-tree; eb'ry night all de pepper ripe, an eb'ry morning you wouldn't find one pepper an de tree.[1]


a) I go to bed and leave my pepper-tree full of peppers, and wake in the morning, there isn't one there.

b) Me fader got a rose-tree in him yard; eb'ry night he blow, an by time de fe clean, eb'ry one gone.

c) Me fader hab a heap a white plate pon a blue table; wash de plate in de evening an' turn him down, an' in de morning don' see one.

55. Me fader hab a pepper-tree an i nebber ripe till night come.


56. Me fader hab a tree full apple an' not a man can count them.


a) My sheet I cannot fold, My money I cannot count.

--Cloud and stars.

57. My father has a sheet that covers the whole world.


58. My father has a lamp that shines over the whole world.


59. My father have a house up on one post.[2]


60. My father have two ponds; when he lie down at night, he turn up one and turn down one.


[1. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

72a. I laid down meal in the evening and in the morning nothing was there.

b. I spread out my strips of matting at night; next morning I went out and found nothing there.

Eastern Bantu (Seidl):

12. I spread my bananas on a rock; the next morning all had been stolen.

Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

225. Allá arriba hay un plato lleno de aceitunas;
de dia se recogen, y de noche se riegan.

Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

28. I have built me a great house; it stands upon one post.

Hausa (Rattray) 153:

I built a hut with only one post to prop up the roof.


{p. 190}

61. My father have a well; it have neither top nor bottom, yet it hold water.


62. My father have something without top or bottom, had it with him wherever he go.


a) The king of France sent to the king of Spain to get a tub without a bottom.

63. My father has a house with three doors and can walk only through one.

--Three openings in a cocoanut shell;
one drinks through only one.

64. My father has a gig to make; the more him pare it the bigger it get.[1]


65. My father have a thing go up chimbly chip chirrup.[2]


66. My father have one thing in his hand and throw it and it support the whole of Jamaica.[3]


67. Me father sen' ten men fe ketch one t'ief.[4]

--Ten fingers to catch one louse.

a) Ten men go to Bullinton fe bring down one prisoner; only two bring him down.

b) One prisoner stan' pon Marley hill; ten policemen go fe tek him down; two bring him to de station do, an' de sentence pass pon de finger-nail.

c) My father tek a bwoy to court; de sentence pass pon finger-nail.

68. My fader sen' me fe go pick out a woman fe me wife; those laugh will be the bes' fe tek, but those not better left, fe they will kill me.

--Ackee; this refers to the common warning
that the fruit is safe to eat only
after it has ripened and split in the sun.

[1. Cf. No. 22, p. 185.

Welsh-Gypsy: Gypsy Lore 5:241:

29. What grows bigger the more you cut away from it?

2. Cf. No. 185 p. 203.

3. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

57. One is father of a hundred.

4. Cf. Holme riddles:

12. In thickest woods j hunt whith eagles 10 after the chase which when (?) j doe descry j dispossesse me of not usefull then & what j take not only that keep j.

--A man scratching his head with both his hands.


{p. 191}

69. My father plant a acre a kasava; only one white belly rat a eatey off.

--Grater for preparing kasava meal.

70. My father give me one root kasava an' a quart of fine salt; if I don clever I wouldn't taste it.

--Egg; the salt cannot penetrate the shell.

a) I put on one coco on the fire to boil and I put in a gallon of salt, and the salt never tasted it.

b) I have a t'ing and don't care how much salt I put in it, when I go to eat it I have to put salt on it.

71. My father gave me some seed to sow; the ground is white and the seed is black.[1]

--Black ink on white paper.

72. My father was in Green Island cutting chip and the chip never fly.[2]


73. Mother put on a pot of food to boil; the top boil before the bottom.


74. Going up to town my face turn to town; coming back from town my face turn to town.

--Climbing a tree.

75. I was going up to town one morning, met a man; I tell him 'Mawnin' and he wouldn't speak to me, and when I was coming back early in the evening he speak to me.

--Trash, noiseless to the tread, when
cold, crackles when warmed by the

[1. Cf. Irish Folk-Lore Riddles, 67:

Riddle me, riddle me, Randy Row,
My father gave me some seed to sow;
The seeds were black, the ground was white,
Riddle me that against Saturday night.

Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

151. Sábana blanca está tendida, semilla negra se va por encima, tres que la riegan y dos que la miran.

Catalán (and see note):

XXV. Lo camp es blanch,
la llavó es negra,
cinch son los bous
que menan la rella.

2 Cf. No. 97, p. 194.]

{p. 192}

76. I was going up Sand-hill and saw a man and suck his blood and throw him over the wall.[1]


77. When I was going up to town I met a man; his head is fire an' his mouth is bone.[2]


a) As I was going through Bramble hall,
An old man gave me a call;
His beard was flesh, his mouth was horn,
And this old man was never born.

b) Got to a gentleman's yard and his mouth was hard and his beard was flesh.

78. I was going over Dingledown hill and I saw a grey horse.


79. Picking juketa (?) going to town, picking juketa coming from town and can't get my hands full.

--Dew and sweat.

[1. Cf. Nursery Rhymes of England (Halliwell):

CLIV. When I went up sandy-hill,
I met a sandy boy;
I cut his throat, I sucked his blood,
And left his skin a hanging-o.

Welsh-Gypsy Folk-riddles:

24. I was going over a bridge; I saw a yellow man, I lifted him up. I drank his blood, and I threw him down.

Lincolnshire riddles (Notes and Queries 3rd series, VIII):

As I was going over London Brig,
I spies a little red thing;
I pick it up, I suck it blood,
And leaves it skin to dry.

Canadian; Ontario:

As I went over London bridge, I met my sister Mary; I cut off her head and drank her blood and left her body standing.

--Whiskey in a bottle.

2. Cf. Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell):

IX. What is that, that hath a beard of flesh, a mouth of horn, and feet like a griffon?

Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Chambers):

Page 109. Mouth o' horn, and beard o' leather;
Ye'll no guess that though ye were hanged in a tether.


Page 217. Hi ha un home que porta un vestit fet de pedassos, du la barba de carn y de la cara d'os.


{p. 193}

80. I gwine to town wid a hand o' ripe plantain; I hungry an' couldn't taste it.


81. I was going to town; I mash a plate and when I was coming back I found it new.

--Ants' nest.

82. As I was going up to town I hear the bells of heaven ring; man tremble, beast tremble, cause the devil to break his chain.


83. Going up a lane I see a drink an' see a chaw.


a) Dere's a cup an' in de cup dere's a chaw; no man to clear dis chaw.

84. A man was going to Kingston, saw two roads and took both.[1]


85. I heard that my father was dead in Kingston; I went there and took a piece of his bone and made increase.

--Kasava root.

86. I heave up a t'ing white an' it come down red.


87. In England I am, in Jamaica I stand.

--A man took soil from Jamaica, put it in his boots, went to England.

88. I went to town, I walk in town, I eat in town, and yet I don't know town.

--A woman was breedin'. She went
to town an' after she come home
the baby born, grow a big man, don'
know town.

89. A man going to town and he face town, and when he coming back he face down to Montego Bay.

--Train running between Kingstown and Montego Bay.

[1. Tremearne, 58:

I have two roads open, though I follow the wrong one I am not lost.


{p. 194}

90. A man going up to town; he walk on his head going up, he walk on his head going back.[1]


91. Riding in to town, two talking to each other and none understand what the other was saying,

--Two(?) new saddles creaking ru-u-u-u-u.

92. Four men going up to town; all were talking and not one could understand the other.

--Four buggy wheels.

93. Four bredder walk a road and not one can touch.[2]

--Four buggy wheels.

94. Some white ladies were walking to Kingston, and all the walk they walk they couldn't catch each other.


95. Three brothers in one house and never see each others' face until dead.

--Three beans in one castor-oil pod.

96. Two sister on ribber side; no one could never wash the other.

--Two bottles.

97. Two sawyers were sawing from morning till night and never saw a bit of dust.[3]


[1. Cf. Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell):

XXX. What is It that goes to the water on the head?

Welsh-Gipsy, page 251:

35. What goes to the village head downwards?

Irish Folk-Lore Riddles:

I go round the land and round the land
And sleep at night on my head.

--Nail in a brogue.

Canadian; Ontario, JAFL 31:68.

Pennsylvania German JAFL 19:116:

Was ist das? Fern armer Drop muss die Steg uf und ab geh uf em Kop?

2. Cf. No. 138, p. 199,

West African (Seidl), page 176:

6. Two things early and late together yet never touch.

--Parallel roads.

7. Three children all alike who are constantly together yet never touch each other.

Catalan (and see notes):

CCVII. Quatre germanas corren agualmènt qui part estan posades y agual trebal sostenan y una vol a conseguir l'altra y no s'alcansen.

3. Cf. No. 72, p. 191.]

{p. 195}

98. Three man start fe go a heaven; one go half way an' turn back, one go right up, and one no go at all.

--Fire: spark, smoke and ashes,

99. A man walk around four corners of the world and make a house; rain come catch him a door, dew fall on him, sun burn him, and he have no shelter of his own.


a) A man build a fine up-stairs house, and he have to sleep outside.

100. A man mek him house an' him sleep outside.


101. A man work for rich and work for poor and yet his head outside.


102. There was an old man that live never building house till rain come.[1]

--John Crow: as soon as rain come
he begin to cut posts, say he will
build him a house. When sun comes
out, he come to dry himself; never
build house any more.

103. Man mek him house, an' him bade da a do.[2]

--Ear of corn.

a) Old man in his room and the beard out in the hall.

104. Vineyard man walk through vineyard grass-piece and neither make track nor road.


105. I know a man talk every second.


a) I know a man; every talk he talk his mouth-corner foam.

106. Born from de worl' mek an' nebber a month ole yet.[3]


107. Baby born an' vanish.


[1. Cf. Jones, 4; Harris, Nights, 363; Tremearne, 269-270.

2. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

47. There is an old man; he himself stays within but his beard is outside.

3. Cf. No. 257, p. 216.]

{p. 196}

108. I know a baby born widout belly.

--Skelion (tin can).

109. Tallest man in Kingston don' have any belly.


a) A man stan' up widout guts.

110. Holler belly mumma, humpback pupa, pickney wid t'ree foot.


111. Born in white, live in green, die in red, bury in black.[1]


112. He laugh plain and talk plain but havn't any life.


113. Going up to town me coatie torn-torn and not a seamstress in a town could sew it.[2]

--Banana leaf.

a) Mrs. Queen coat-tail tear an' never mend.

114. I think I will shoot God, and God say I mus' shoot the earth.[3]

--Banana shoot.

115. I was tying mat ever since an' I never lay down on one.


116. If me stan' me kimbo; if me lie me kimbo.[4]


117. A thousand hungry men kill a thousand bullocks.

--Hunger kill men.

118. And smart as little Tommie be, one man kill the whole world.

--Mr. Debt.

119. Woman have a chile an' fust begin larnin' larn him fe tief.[5]


[1. Cf. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

113 b. Blanco fué mi nacimiento, amarilla mi vejez; y negro me estoy poniendo cuando me voy a morir.

2. Cf. No. 20, p. 185.

Nandi (Hollis), 138:

There lives by the river a woman who has many garments. What is she?

--The wild banana plant.

3. Cf. No. 13, p. 184.

4. Cf. No. 51 p. 188. Cf. Nandi (Hollis), page 135:

I have a child who is known to steal.



{p. 197}

120. Black man dance on white man table.

--Black ink on white paper.

a) Mr. Blackman sit pon Mr. Whiteman table.

b) Black man sit down on white man chair.

c) Black man dance on white man head.

d) Black man dance on white man sheet.

121. A black man sit upon a white man head.


122. A white man stand upon a black man head.

--Bammie on griddle.

123. A black man sit upon a red man head.

--Pot on fire.

124. John Redman tickle John Blackman till him laugh puco-puco.[1]

--Fire under boiling pot.

a) A red man tickle a black man make him belly boil up.

b) John Redman beat John Blackman till him gallop.

125. Mr. Redman box Mr. Blackman make Mr. Whiteman laugh.

--Fire, baking-pan and bammie.

126. The white man take a red cloth tie his head.

--Tooth and gum.

127, Mr. Blackman was going to town; him drop him kerchief all couldn't pick it up.

--Crow drops a feather.

128. Miss Nancy was going to Kingston; she drop her pocket handkerchief never turn round to pick it up.

--Bird drops a feather.

a) Miss Nancy was going up-stairs and she lose her pocket handkerchief and she would not turn round to pick it up.

b) Queen of Sheba riding out; Her kerchief drop and couldn't pick it up,

129. Little Miss Nancy sit at the pass; everyone that come give him a kiss.


[1. Spanish Mexican, JAFL 30: 230:

A little black one above, and red Juan below.

--Baking plate on fire.


{p. 198}

130. Little Miss Nancy tie up her frock and wheel round three times.

--Turn-stick in the pot.

131. Little Miss Nancy like to dance and dance so rough.


132. Miss D. June (?) cutting wood for a year, never get a bundle.


133. Little Johnny fell in the water and never drowned.


134. Aunty Mary cut two packey, not one bigger than the other.[1]

--Heaven and earth.

a) Ole man Brenta sit on a stump, cut two packey not one bigger than the other.

--Cloud on the earth (?).

135. Send bwoy to fetch doctor, doctor come before bwoy.[2]

--Boy climbing after a cocoanut; nut falls before boy comes down.

136. Dead carry the living over Napoleon's grass-piece.[3]

--Ship at Sea.

a) Look through a diamond I see the dead carry the living.

[1. Cf. Nandi (Hollis), 141:

I slaughtered two oxen, one red and the other white, and their hides were alike.

--Earth and sky.

Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

49 a. I send a man to call someone; he comes before the messenger returns.

49 b. The messenger sent is not yet returned; the one sent for arrives.

49 c. I am sent to call my friend; the friend is come, I am not returned.

Porta Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

174. Mandé un muchacho a un mandado; primero vino el mandado que el muchacho.

3. Cf. Irish Folk-lore Riddles:

Irish: As I looked out of my parlour window
    I saw the dead carrying the live;
    Wasn't that a wonderful thing?

--Train full of people.

Gaelic: As I was at my window,
    I looked through my gold ring;
    I saw the dead carrying the living,
    Wasn't that a wondrous thing?


Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Chambers), 110:

As I lookit owre my window at ten o'clock at night,
I saw the dead carrying living.

Welsh-gipsy: 27: The dead carries the living.


{p. 199}

137. A hen have six chickens; and hold the hen, the chickens cry.

--Guitar with six strings.

138. Two horses were galloping and neither of them could catch one another.[1]

--Two mill-rollers.

139. One John-crow sit down on three cotton-tree.

--Cooking-pot set on fire-stones.

140. A fleety horse get up over a broken bridge.[2]

--Needle and thread.

a) A frisky horse and a frisky mare was going up to mountain hill.

141. John, the mule, in the stable, his tail outside.

--Fire in the kitchen, smoke outside.

142. Stick a bog at its head and it bleed at its tail.[3]


143. Kingston bully-dog bark, Montego bully-dog answer.

--Rooster; when one crows at one end
of the island, another answers at the
other end.

144. England dog bark, Jamaica dog sound.


145. Portland dog bark, Westmoreland dog hear.[4]


146. Jamaica bully-dog bark, Kingston bully-dog keep silent.

--Great gun.

147. Rope run, horse stan' up.

--Pumpkin-vine and pumpkin.

148. Old England dead an never rotten.

--Bottle (of ale).

[1. Cf. No. 93, p. 194.

2. Cf. No. 3, p. 183.

3. Cf. No. 5, p. 183.

4. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

44. When the lion roars it is heard everywhere.

Nandi (Hollis), p. 145:

A tree fell in Lumbwa and its branches reached Nandi. A great gun.


{p. 200}

149. Water grow.


150, Water stan' up.


151. No ca how time hard, one coco full pot.

--Foot in a boot.

152. One bammie shingle off Mt. Olivet church.


153. One little bit o' bag hold three.

--Castor-oil bean-pod.

154. A gully with two notch in it.


155. What water wash, sun can't dry.


156. Up the hill, down the hill; yet never tired.


a) Up the hill, down the hill; Stand up still.

157. Chaw fine and never tired.


158, This corner, this corner is no corner at all.


159. Chip-cherry, beer, cedar.

--White man (cedar), black-wife
(chip-cherry), brown child (beer).

160. Stump to stump; dig out stump out of dogwood heart.


161. A 'tump in a pond; all the rain can't cover the 'tump-head.

--Turn-stick in the pot.

162. There's a rope and every bump a sheet of paper.


163. Sack a back an' not de front.


{p. 201}

164. Roomful, hallful; you can't get a spoonful.[1]


165. Knock an' stan' up.


166. Water a-bottom, fire a-top.


167. Hell a-top an' hell a-bottom.


168. Hair a-top, hair a-bottom; only a dance in the middle.

--Eye-lashes and eye.

169. Hairy within and hairy without; lift up your foot and poke it in.[2]


170. Outside black, inside red; cock up your foot and poke it in.[3]


171. White a top, black a middle and red a bottom.[4]

--Bammie, baking-iron and fire.

172. White as snow but not snow; green as grass but not grass; red as blood but not blood.[5]

--Coffee-blossom and berry.

[1. Cf. Yorkshire Riddles (Notes and Queries 3rd series, 8: 325):

A house full, a hoile (coal-hole) full,
Ya' canna' fetch a bowl full.

Canadian: Ontario, JAFL 31: 71.

Welsh-Gipsy, 247:

6. A roadful, a barnful; thou canst not catch a pipeful.


2. Cf. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa) 301 b, New Mexican Spanish 328:

Pelú por fuera
pelú por dentro;
abre el agujero
y ensartalo adentro.

3. Cf. Suaheli (Velten):

97. Lift up, let it fall: kiba kipandika, kiba kipandua.

4. Cf. West Highlands (Campbell), II, 420:

Red below, black in the middle, white above.

--Fire, griddle and oatcake.

Cf. Irish Folk-lore Riddles: 75:

Gaelic: As white as flour, and it is not flour; as green as grass and it is not grass, as red as blood and it is not blood; as black as Irk and it is not ink.



{p. 202}

173. Green as grass, not grass; stiff standing in the bed; and the best young lady is not afraid of handling it.[1]


174. White within, black within, red without.


175. Hard as rock, not rock; white as milk, not milk.


176. High as the world; red as blood but not blood; blue as indigo; but not indigo; high as granadillo temple.


177. When it come it does not come; when it does not come it come.[2]

--Rat and corn.

178. Four sit down on four waiting till four come.

--Cat on the table waiting for a rat.

179. Six and four waiting for twenty-four.

--Six holes in four horse-shoes waiting for twenty-four nails.

180. Nine run, one come, two run.

--Nine man run for the doctor, one baby born, two nipples run.

181. Ten on to four.[3]

--Ten teats on a cow (?).

182. Six is in, the seventh is out; set the virgin free.

--Hen hatching six chicks.

[1. Cf. Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell):

IV. What is that that is rough within and red without
And bristled like a hare's snout;
There is never a lady on the land
But will be content to take it in her hand.


2. Cf. Harris, Nights, 75. 3 Cf. Holme riddles:

36. Flink flank under a bank 10 about 4.

--Woman milking a cow.

Welsh-Gipsy, 248:

14. in a field I saw 10 pulling 4.

--Girl's fingers milking.

Canadian, Ontario: JAFL 31:67:

Ink, ank you bank,
Ten drawing four.


{p. 203}

183. Blackey cover ten.

--Boots cover toes.

184. Two peepers, two pokers, two waddlers, and one zum-zum.[1]


185. Up chip-cherry, down chip-cherry; not a man can climb chip cherry.[2]


186. Whitey whitey can't climb whitey whitey.


187. Half a 'tumpy sit down on 'tumpy; when a go, a don' see nothing but half a 'tumpy.

--Broken bottle on stump.

188. Climb up Zion hill, pick Zion fruit, come down Zion hill, drink Zion water.

--Climbing a cocoanut tree, picking the
nut, coming down, drinking the milk.

a) Go up Mount Zion, drink Zion blood, eat de flesh, dash away de bone.

189. Tetchie in, tetchie out; all hands can play on it.

--Lock and key.

a) Tickle me in, tickle me out; all hands can play on tickle.

190. Hip hop; hip hop; jump wide.


a) Dip dup, a yard wide.

[1. Cf. West Highlands (Campbell), 412:

Four shaking and four running,
Two finding the way and one roaring.

2. Catalan (and see notes):

CXLVI. Dos puntxets,
    dos ullets,
    quatre massas
    y una escombra.

Filipino (Starr):

a) Four posts, one whip, two fans and two bolos.

b) Four earth-posts, two air-posts and whip.

c) One pointing, two moving, four changing.

3. Cf. No. 65, p. 190.

Irish Folk-lore Riddles, 68:

Chip, chip cherry and all the men In Derry,
Wouldn't climb the walls of chip, chip cherry.


{p. 204}

191. Drill a hall, drill a room; lean behind the door.[1]


a) Jig a hall, jig a room; go a corner, go stan' up behin' de door.

192. Little titchie above ground.


193. Every jump shiney jump, whitey hold it back.

--Needle and thread.

194. Miss Witty wit and wit till she wit out her last wit.

--Needle and thread.

195. Earie, hearie, earie, knock, pom!

--Brushing (the hair).

196. Papa take hairy-hairy put in blackey-blackey.

--Brush and blacking.

197. Unco Joey takin' long hairy-hairy somet'ing; shubbin' Aunty Mary hairy-hairy somet'ing.

--Making a broom.

198. Long Aunty Long-long, no one can long as Aunty Long-long.


199. Whitey-whitey send whitey-whitey to drive whitey-whitey from eating whitey-whitey.

--White man sends his white boy to drive
the white goat out of the cabbage-patch.

200. Sleepy-sleepy under nyammy-yammy tree; killy-killy come to sleepy-sleepy; nyammy-yammy drop, kill killy-killy; walkey-walkey come nyam (eat) nyammy-yammy, leave sleepy-sleepy.[2]

--Man sleeping under a tree; snake
comes to kill man; cocoanut falls and
kills snake; another man comes, eats
the cocoanut, leaves the first man.

[1. Cf. Holme riddles, 225:

(44) what is that that goes round about the house and stands behind the door.

Irish Folk-lore Riddles:

I go round the house upstairs and downstairs and sleep at night in a corner.

2. Cf. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

179. Debajo de un come, come estaba un dorme, dorme; cayó el come, come, y despertó el dorme, dorme; se levantó el dorme, dorme y se comió al come, come.

--El coco y el que se lo come.

New-Mexican Spanish, 336:

Durmilis Durmilis está durmiendo,
Martiris Martiris está llegando
Si no fuera por Cominis Cominis
Durmilis Durmilis estuviera muerto.


{p. 205}

201. Limb fell lamb; down fell lamb in the cow coram.

--Limb falls, knocks lamb into the cow-dung.

202. If I had my pretty little caney, bigny-pigny could not kill kum-painy.

--If I had my revolver, the wild hog
could not kill my dog.

203. I was going out and I saw some pigs, and if I had my hansom-cansom, I would carry home some bigny-pigny.

--If I had my gun, I would
carry home some pigs.

204. I send for my man Richard to bring me tomery-flemery-doctory to mortify unicle-cornicle-current out of my pinkicle-pankicle-present.[1]

--To bring my three dogs to drive
three pigs out of the garden.

205. There is a boat an' in that boat a lady sat, an' it I should tell you the name of that lady I should be blamed, for I've told you the riddle twice.[2]

--The lady's name was Anne.

[1. Cf. Irish Folk-lore Riddles:

As I went out a hazeum-gazeum
I saw a shrinkum-pinkum
Carrying away kum-painy.

--A fox stole a goose at night.

Holme riddles, 233:

(108) As j went through my houter touter houter perly j saw one Mr. higamgige com over the hill of parley but it j had my tarly berly, tarly berly berly j would have bine met with Mr. Higamgige come over the hill of parley.

--A man going on' a hill a flee flew over his head.

(237) As j went over Hottery Tottery, etc.

Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Chambers), 113:

Ha! master above a master, etc.


XXX. En Penjim Penjoy penjava, etc.

2. Cf. Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell):

XV. Yonder side sea, there is a bote,
The king's daughter of England there she sate;
An it you tell her name no man it wot
What is the maid's name that sate in the boate.

--Her name is Anne; for in the fourth line it saith
An if ye tell me her name; but this riddle is not to
be seene on the booke, but to be put without the booke,
or else it will be soone understood.


{p. 206}

206. I was going up to Hampton lane (a local name); I met a man, an' drew off his hat an' drew off his glove, an' he gave me his love. Take him an' call him; his name is twice mention as this riddle begun.[1]

--His name is Andrew.

a) As I was going up to St. Andrew's church, I met St. Andrew's scholar. St. Andrew's scholar drew off his bat an' drew off his gloves: tell me the name of the scholar.

b) I was going up on Oxford street, I met an Oxford boy. He took out his pen an' drew his name; what was his name?

c) Once as I was crossing the Montego Bay bridge, I met a Montegonian fellow. He took off his hat an' drew off his glove; guess me his name; I've mentioned it in this riddle.

207. I an' my dog ben up the lane catching a buck an' a doe. Whoever tell me my dog's name, there is my dog.[2]

--The dog's name is Ben.

a) "Good morning, Mr. Ben; ben meke a meet. I come to borrow yo' dog go hunting. I don' know his name." "Take him an' call him; his name is twice mention as this riddle begun."

[1. Cf. Holme riddles, 234;

(111) As j went by the way j met with a boy
j took him my friend for to bee
he took of his hat an drew of his gloves
and so saluted mee.

Lincolnshire riddles (Notes and Queries 3rd series, VIII), 503:

As I was going over Westminster Brig,
I met a Westminster scholar, etc.

Cf. Dorsetshire (Notes and Queries 3rd series IX),

50: A body met a body
In a narrow lane,
Says the body to a body,
Where hast thou a-ben?

I've ben in my wood
A-hunting me some roe.
Then lend me thy little dog
That I may do so.

Then take it unto thee.
Tell me its name;
For twice in the riddle,
I've told you the same.

Holme riddles, 237:

(137) There was a king met a king, etc.

--The men's names were King and the dogs name was Bin.


{p. 207}

208. Megs, Pegs an' Margaret is my true lover; but it's neither Megs, Pegs nor Margaret.

--Anne is my lover.

209. Trick, track and trawndy,
Which was Trawndy Grawnby?


210. There are 4000 people to draw in one carriage; how can they do that?

--Mr. & Mrs. Thousand and
their two children.

211. Mr. Lets was walking and Mr. Lets was riding and Mr. Lets was walking again. Can you tell me who the gentlemen were?

--Horse, master and dog, all named 'Lets'.

212. My father has a long bench in his house, an' to guess me how many people sit on that bench.

--One man named 'More'. (The trick
is, at each guess to say More.)

213. Bees bite honey, honey run.

--A horse named Honey.

214. Twelve pear hanging high,
Twelve men passing by;
Each pick a pear,
How many pear remain?[1]

--Eleven; the man's name is Each.

215. A man without eyes
Went out to view the skies;
He saw a tree with apples on,
He neither took apples off nor left apples on.[2]

--A one-eyed man; two apples on the tree.

[1. Cf. Catalan (and see notes):

Cl. Dotze frares d'un convent
dotze nespras per tots tenen,
cada qual se'n menja una
y encar quedan onze nespras.

New Mexican Spanish: 152, 153.

2 Cf. Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell):

XLIV. I came to a tree where were apples; I eat no apples, I gave away no apples, nor I left no apples behinde me; and yet I eat, gave away, and left behind me.

--Three apples. I eat, give away, and leave one apple.

Holme riddles, 237, [135].

Popular Tales of the West Highlands (Campbell), II, 419:

A man went eyeless to a tree where there were apples. He didn't leave apples on it, and he didn't take apples off.

--There where two and he took one.


{p. 208}

216. I was going up Hampton lane, I met a man have seven wives; the seven wives have seven sacks, the seven sacks have seven kits, how many were there going to Hampton?

--Only one--I.

217. A duck before a duck, a duck after a duck, a duck in the midst of two ducks. How many ducks was going along?


218. I was travelling and six ducks flying, one before the five; and I took up my gun and I shoot one of the ducks and drop on the ground. Guess how many ducks remain?[2]

--None; the rest fly away.

219. A parson and his daughter, a doctor and his wife; and there is three apples to share among them. How will they share it?'

--Each takes one; the parson's daughter is the doctor's wife.

220. Run, Ricky, run; run up the Ahe river, run; run with a long trail, run up the Ahe river, run;. run, Ricky, run? How, many r's in that?

--No r's in 'that'.

221. Mr. Parott was sitting on a tree; some pigeons were flying by. The pigeon say, "Good morning, Mr. Parrot." The parrot say, 'Good morning, Mr. Hundred." The pigeon say, "I'm not 'hundred'; want twice as much, half as much, quarter

[1. Cf. Nursery Rhymes of England (Halliwell), 958:

As I was going to St. Ives, etc.

Lancashire (Notes and Queries, 3rd series 9: 86).

Canadian, Ontario, JAFL 31:71.

2. Cf. Catalan (and see notes):

CCLIX. Un cassador surt a cassar. A dalt de un arbre hi ha quatre aucells. Etgega un tret. Ne mata dos. Quants aucells quedan dalt del arbre?

Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

741. En un árbol habla cien pájaros. Un cazador tiró y cayó uno muerto al suelo. Cuántos quedaron arriba?

Canadian, Ontario, JAFL 31: 72.

3. Cf. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

726. El zapatero y su hija,
el sastre con su mujer,
comieron de nueve huevos
y les tocaron a tres.

--La hija del zapatero era la mujer del sastre.


{p. 209}

as much, and you, Mr. Parrot, to make a hundred." Tell me how many pigeons were flying.[1]


222. I hire laborers for a shilling a day; I get twelve laborers. I give a man two pence, a woman ha' penny, a pickney one farthing. How many of each do I hire?

--Five men, one woman, six pickney.

223. My father gave me a horse to go sell for ten pounds and to eat my breakfast out of the money and bring home the same ten pounds. How kould I do that?

--Take the shoes off the horse and sell them separately.

224. In a rainy season the Cabrietta overflows a path where a poor coolie-man and his family had to cross. He then made a dray for conveying them to and from their work. Dray cannot catty more than 150 lbs. at a time. Coolie-man weighs 150 lbs., wife 150 lbs., and two sons together 150 lbs. How must they get over.

--Two sons go over; one remains, the
other returns. The mother goes over;
boy returns, takes over brother returns.
Father goes over; boy brings over brother.[2]

a) The same story with a fox, goose and bag of corn.

[1. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

734(a). Pasaba un grupo de palomas por donde estaba un gavilán y el gavilán les dijo:

--Adios mis cien palomas. Ellas le contestaron diciéndole:

--Nosotras, la mitad de nosotras, una cuarta parte de nosotras otras tantas como nosotras y usted, señor gavilán, hecemos el ciento cabal. Cuántas palomas irian volando?

Arabian Nights Tales [Burton, Burton Club, 5:236].

2 Cf. Canadian, Ontario, JAFL 31: 63.

Argyleshire, 181:

Man, wife and sons to be ferried across.


Fox, goose and bag of corn.

West Highlands (Campbell), 408:

Three jealous soldiers and their wives in a boat that holds two.

Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell), 72:

Lamb, wolf and 'bottle of hay.'

The Riddler (New Haven, 1835), 5:

Wolf, goat and cabbages.

Attributed to Alcuin, in Wright, Biographia Britannica Literaria, London, 1842, 1:74.]

{p. 210}

225. My fader got six sheep. He send his son to de pen. 'My son, go an' count me six sheep, but you musn' count me "one, two, t'ree, four, five, six." You musn't count "four an' two, six". You musn't count "t'ree an' t'ree, six". You musn' count "five an' one, six", but count me my six sheep!

--Dis, dat, de other,
De ewe, de ram, de wether.

226. I gwine to make a dance; I want you there. You mus'n't come a day, you mus'n't come a night, you mus'n't ride a horse, you mus'n't ride a mule, you mus'n't ride a jackass. An' if you come, you mus'n't come into me house an' you mus'n't stay outside.'

--You must come riding a cow, between
day and night; and when you come,
stand on the threshold, neither in nor out.

227. Under the earth I stand,
Silver and gold was my tread.
I rode a t'ing that never was born,
And a bit of the dam I hold in me han'.[2]

a) On green grass I stand
On gravel I stand,
I ride a colt that was never in foal,
And I beat up the mother old dum-skin in me hand.

b) Under de eart' I go,
Plant trash I stan';
I ride a t'ing that never was born
Wid an ole be damn in me han'.

[1. Cf. Grimm, 94, The Peasants Wise Daughter.

"Then said the king, 'Come to me not clothed, not naked, not riding, not walking, not in the road, not out of the road, and if thou canst do that I will marry thee.' So she went away, put off everything she had on, and then she was not clothed, and took a great fishing net, and seated herself in it and wrapped it entirely round and round her, and then she was not naked, and she hired an ass and tied the fisherman's net to its tail, so that it was forced to drag her along, and that was neither riding nor walking. The ass had also to drag her in the ruts, so that she only touched the ground with her great toe, and that was neither being in the road nor out of the road."

2 Cf. "Flores" of Pseudo-Bede (111) Mod. Phil. 2: 562:

Sedeo super equum non natum, cujus matrem in manu teneo.

Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell): XL.

On greene grass I go
And on oaken beames I stand, {footnote p. 211}
I ride on a mule that was never folde,
And I holde the damme in my hand.

Solution: It is a fole ridden on,
cut out of the dammes belly,
and a bridle made of her skinne.

Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

769. Ando en quien no fué nacido,
ni esperanza de nacer;
su madre traigo en los brazos.
Adivina lo que puede ser.

Irish Folk-lore Riddles,

70: O'er the gravel I do travel,
On the oak I do stand,
I ride a mare that never was foaled,
And hold the bridle in my hand.

--A sailor on board ship.

See Story No. 26, p. 33:]

{p. 211}

228. Little Miss Netticoat with her white petticoat,
She has neither feet nor hands;
The longer she grows the shorter she stands.[1]


a) Miss Nancy sits around de door;
The longer him stan' deh, de shorter him grow.

229. Hoddie Doddie with a round black body
Three legs and a wooden hat--What's that?[2]


230. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
And all the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.[3]


[1. Cf. Nursery Rhymes of England (Halliwell),

93. Irish Folk-lore Riddles, 68.

Holme riddles, 223:

(27) j have a little boy in a white cote the bigger he is the lesser he goes.

2. Cf. West Highlands (Campbell), 2:419:

Totaman, Totaman, little black man,
Three feet under and bonnet of wood.


Black within and black without,
Four legs an' a iron cap.

Lincolnshire Riddles (Notes and Queries, 3rd series, VIII), page 503, etc.

3. Cf. Nursery Rhymes of England (Halliwell), page 92:

Irish Folk-lore Riddles: 68.

Hitly, Hatly etc.


{p. 212}

231. Round as a marble, deep as a cup;
Ten men from Jericho can't lift it up.[1]


232. Handsome protector dressed in green,
Handsome protector sent to the queen.[2]


233. Under gravel, top o' gravel;
Tell the devil I'll travel.


234. Tires a horse, worries a man;
Tell me this riddle if you can.[3]


235. Hitchity, hitchity on the king's kitchen door;
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Could never move Hitchity, hitchity off the king's kitchen door.[4]


[1. Cf. Holme riddles, 230:232:

(82) What is that that is round as a cup yet all my lord oxen canot draw it up.

--A well.

Canadian, Ontario, JAFL 31:67:

Round as a well, deep as a bowl, long handle, little hole.

--A frying-pan.

Yorkshire (Notes and Queries 3rd series, 8: 325).

2. Cf. Nursery Rhymes of England (Halliwell), 96:

CLV. Highty, tighty, paradighty clothed in green,
The king could not read it, no more could the queen;
They sent for a wise man out of the east,
Who said it had horns but wasn't a beast.

--Holly tree.

Lancashire (Notes and Queries, 3rd series, IX), 86:

Itum Paraditum all clothed in green, etc.


3. Canadian, Ontario, JAFL 31:

68. Brown I am and much admired;
Many horses have I tired;
Tire a horse and worry a man;
Tell me this riddle if you can.

Lincolnshire Riddles (Notes and Queries, 3rd series, VIII), 503:

Hickamore, 'ackamore
Sits over th' kitchen-door,
Nothing so long, and nothing so strong
As Hickamore, 'ackamore,
Sits over th' kitchen-door.

--A cloud.


{p. 213}

236. Flour from England, fruits from Spain,
All met together in a shower of rain;
Had on a napkin tied with a string,--
If you tell me this riddle, I'll give you a ring.

--Duckanoo (pudding boiled in a cloth).

237. I was going through a field of wheat,
I picked up something nice to eat;
It was neither leather, flesh nor bone,
But I kept it till it walk alone.[1]


238. In a garden was laden a beautiful maiden
As ever was seen in the morn.
She was made a wife the first day of her life,
And she died before she was born.[1]


239. There was a man of Adam's race,
He had a certain dwelling-place;
He wasn't in earth, heaven or hell,--
Tell me where that man did dwell.'

--Jonah in the whale's belly,

240. Formed long ago, yet made to-day,
Employed while others sleep;
What few would like to give away,
Or any like to keep.[4]


241. Legs have I but seldom walk,
I backbite all, but never speak.


242. There was a man of Adam's race
Who had no legs, no body but waist.


[1. Cf. Lincolnshire Riddles (Notes and Queries, 3rd series, VIII), 503.

Canadian, Ontario, 68.

2. Cf. Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Chambers), III.

English: New Collection, 14.

Riddler, 18, etc.

3. Cf. Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Chambers), 108.

Ascribed to Charles James Fox (1749-1806) in Modern Sphinx 17.

Cf. Nursery Rhymes of England (Halliwell), 91. Canadian, Ontario, 70.]

{p. 214}

243. When first I appear I seem mysterious,
But when I am explained I am nothing serious.


244. A curtain drawn as fine as silk,
A marble stone as white as milk;
A thief appear and break them all,
Out start the golden ball.[1]


245. I came from beyond the ocean,
I drink water out of the sea,
I lighten a many a nation,
And give myself to thee.


246. My first is a circle, my second a cross;
If you meet my whole, lock out for a toss.[2]


247. My father send me to market to carry home three-fourths of a cross, a circle complete, a right angle with two semi-circles meet, a triangle with a cross, two semi-circles, and circle complete.[3]


248. Five letters in an invitation spell my name,
Backward and forward it answer the same;
Take away the first letter and the first of humanity race,
Take away the second and the thing that make the water-wheel turn.
Take away the third, and the first of the alphabetical verb.

--Madam, Adam, dam, am.

[1. Cf. Canadian, Ontario, 69:

English: Fashionable Puzzler, 58:

In marble walls as white as milk,
Lined with a skin as soft as silk,
Within a fountain crystal clear,
A golden apple doth appear.
No doors there are to this strong hold,
Yet thieves break in and steal the gold.

Cf. English: Puniana, 34, etc.

Cf. English: New Collection, 13:

XXI. Three-fourth of a cross and a circle complete,
Two semi-circles and a perpendicular meet,
A triangle standing on two feet,
Two semi-circles and circle complete.

English: Fashionable Puzzler, 241, etc.]

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249. Give a number that isn't even: cut off the head, you get it even; cut off the tail, your mother's name you shall find.[1]

--Seven, even, Eve.

250. What word of one syllable, take away two letters and leave two syllables?[2]

--Plague, ague.

251. A word of one syllable which, when two is taken off, ten remain.

--Often, ten.

252. Give me 'black water' in three letters.


253. Spell me a broken wall in three letters.


254. What is it that is once in a minute, twice in a moment, and not once in a thousand years?[3]

--Letter M.

255. What is it that we see every day, King George himself sees, and God never sees?[4]

--Our equal.

[1. Cf. English: Puzzles Old and New, 320:

From a number that's odd cut off its head,
It then will even be,
Its tail, I pray, next take away,
Your mother then you'll see.

English: Puniana, 99, etc.

2. Cf. English: Riddler, 12.

English: Puniana, 217, etc.

3. Cf. English: Puniana, 217.

Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

342. Una en un minuto, dos en un momento, y ninguna en un siglo.

4. Cf. Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales (Halliwell), 143:

10. What God never sees,
What the King seldom sees,
What we see every day,--
Read my riddle, I pray.

Irish Folk-lore Riddles:

(Gaelic) I sought for it and found it, 'twas easy its finding,
The thing that God never found and never can find.

Welsh-Gipsy, 247:

What is it God does not see, etc.

Catalan, 80:

CVI. Qu'es aixó?
Lo pastò' ho veu á la montanya
y no 'u veu to rey de Espanya.

Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa); 300.]

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256. What is that which if you have not you would not like to get and if you have you would not like to lose?[1]

--A bald head.

257, What is it, when Adam was four days old it was four days old, and when Adam was four-score years and four days old it remained four days old?[2]


258. What is that which Christ had not, Napoleon had, Kaiser has and no woman ever has?

--A wife.

259. What is it that is too much for one, enough for two, and nothing at all for three?

--A secret.

260. The river is bank to bank; how will you get over?

--By bridge.

261. Suppose all the tree was one tree and all the man was one man and all the axes one ax; and suppose the one ax fell the one tree and the one tree kill the one man, who would leave to tell the tale?


262. Higher than God, lower than the devil; the dead feed on it but not the living.


263. There was a woman born, live an' die; never go to corruption, never see God face.

--Lot's wife.

[1. Cf. Booke of Merry Riddles (Halliwell):

LXIII. What is that no man would have and yet when he hath it will not forgoe it?

--A broken head.

Irish Folk-lore Riddles: 74:

I have it and I don't think much of it; but if I had it not, there would be great grief on me.

2. Cf. No. 106, p. 195.

English: New Collection, 180:

There is a thing was three weeks old
When Adam was no more;
This thing it was but four weeks old
When Adam was four-score.

Irish and Anglo-Irish: Folk-lore Riddles, 76.

Canadian, Ontario, 70. Cf. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

389. Qué es to que el muerto come, que si el vivo to come se muere también?


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264. There is a thing on earth that God could do but didn't, the devil had'nt got the power, and men do it.[1]


265. What is the cleanest thing in a dirty woman's house?


266. What is the bes' furniture for a man's house?

--The daughter.

267. Why do a tailor and a plantain resemble?

--One cuts to fit, the other is fit to cut.

268. Why do a well-dressed lady and a chair resemble?

--Because they both use pins.

269. Why does a judge and a mile-post resemble?

--One justifies the mile and the other the law.

270. What makes the devil and a shoemaker resemble?

--The devil seek after a sinner's soul
and the shoemaker after a boot sole.

271. Mr. Bigger has a baby; out of Mr. Bigger and his baby which is the bigger?

--Baby is a little Bigger.

272. If an elephant's four feet cover four acres of land, what will his tail cover?

--The skin

273. What money in the world is the hardest money to change?


274. A reason why a moth-eaten coat is like a bible?

--Both of them is holy (holey).

[1. Cf. Porto Rican (Mason and Espinosa):

90 (Cf. 17) En el mundo no to hubo,
en la tierra no se halló;
Dios, con ser Dios no to tuyo,
y un hombre a Dios se to dió.

New-Mexican Spanish, 321:

Se que en el cielo no to hubo,
siendo Dios quien to inventó;
y si el mismo Dios to tuvo,
fué un hombre quien se to dió.


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