Riddles can be a question with a quick witty answer. They can be just a sentence that makes you have a sudden realization. Whatever your definition, one thing is clear: riddles will riddle us for years to come.
Simple and Difficult Riddles
Riddles can be difficult or simple as shown in these examples:
- "Three eyes have I, all in a row; when the red one opens, all freeze." The answer is traffic light.
- "What animal walks on all fours in the morning, two in the afternoon and three in the evening?" The answer is man, since he crawls as a child then walks and uses a cane when he gets older.
- What does "Mill + Walk + Key=" The answer is Milwaukee.
- "What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?" A towel of course.
- "No sooner spoken than broken. What is it?" It is silence.
- "I am weightless, but you can see me. Put me in a bucket, and I'll make it lighter. What am I?" A hole.
- What is so fragile that when you say its name you break it? Silence.
- I have a tail, and I have a head, but i have no body. I am NOT a snake. What am I? A coin.
- What falls, but does not break, and what breaks but does not fall? Night falls and day breaks.
- You throw away the outside and cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat? An ear of corn.
- I have holes in my top and bottom, my left and right, and in the middle. But I still hold water. What am I? A sponge.
- What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head but never weeps, has a bed but never sleeps? A river.
- I never was, am always to be,/No one ever saw me, nor ever will,/And yet I am the confidence of all/To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball./What am I? Tomorrow.
- I am the black child of a white father, a wingless bird, flying even to the clouds of heaven. I give birth to tears of mourning in pupils that meet me, even though there is no cause for grief, and at once on my birth I am dissolved into air. What am I? Smoke.
- Pronounced as one letter,/And written with three,/Two letters there are,/And two only in me./I'm double, I'm single,/I'm black, blue, and gray,/I'm read from both ends,/And the same either way./What am I? An eye.
- A man is on a trip with a fox, a goose, and a sack of corn. He comes upon a stream which he has to cross, and finds a tiny boat which he can use for the same. The problem though, is that he can only take himself and either the fox, the goose, or the corn across at a time. It is not possible for him to leave the fox alone with the goose or the goose alone with the corn. How can he get all safely over the stream? Answer: Take the goose over first and come back. Then take the fox over and bring the goose back. Now take the corn over and come back alone to get the goose. Take the goose over and the job is done!
- A boy was at a carnival and went to a booth where a man said to the boy, "If I write your exact weight on this piece of paper then you have to give me $50, but if I cannot, I will pay you $50." The boy looked around and saw no scale so he agrees, thinking no matter what the carny writes he'll just say he weighs more or less. In the end the boy ended up paying the man $50. How did the man win the bet? Answer: The man did exactly as he said he would and wrote 'your exact weight' on the paper.
Different Types of Riddles
There are two types of riddles, enigmas and conundrums.
- An enigma is a problem in which the solution is expressed metaphorically. You have to carefully think about the riddle to come up with the solution.
- A conundrum is a question that opens either the question or the answer.
A riddle, however, doesn't need to be classified as one of these types. As long as it is difficult to figure out and has an answer or a meaning to it, it can be classified as a riddle. Today riddles aren't used as much as they were in ancient times, but they remain a definite way to get your mind working.
Defining a Riddle
A riddle is a statement, question, or phrase that has a double meaning. A riddle can also be described as a puzzle to be solved. When someone uses a riddle, it can be a thought provoking challenge to figure it out on your own, or it can be a funny comment that makes you laugh. Riddles can be great brain busters or conversation starters to get you think.
A riddle is as hard or as simple as you and the person you're telling makes it. The answer can be right in front of your nose and even in the riddle itself, or it can be difficult and hard to comprehend. It depends on how much you open your mind to the possibilities.
History of Riddles
Riddles came from old English poetry. Their literary ancestry dates all the way back to Plato and Aristotle. In ancient Greece, riddles were used as a cunning tool, to demonstrate wit and wisdom.
Writers in poetry also began expressing themselves through riddles. When a poem contains a riddle, the reader's mind can be stimulated and the writer can successfully get their message across in a more interesting way. Some poetry even has answers to it that you had to riddle out.
Theater is another place where riddles show up. Shakespeare was famous for his works, which had a lot of riddles in them. For example, in Romeo and Juliet, Romeo proclaimed his love in a riddle for the audience to interpret.
Today, examples of riddles can be found in movies as well. For example, in the movie Saw, Jigsaw the main character engages men and women in a riddle to save their lives. Most of the time the answer is simple, but some are difficult to comprehend. One of his riddles is "Do you feel you have enough faith to stick this out, or do you need the help of some higher power? Look around salvation may be right across the room." The answer to that riddle was a cross.
Riddles can be used in a contest of wit and skill, sort of like a guessing game. Riddle games have been played since ancient times, and are still being played today.