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Three riddles need answers

 
 
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 06:12 am
Three riddles I found without answers. I searched google for them, but no luck. I have some idea what these are about, but I like to hear your ideas.


He loves her; she has a repugnance to him,
and yet she tries to catch him;
and if she succeeds, she will be the death of him.
--------
'A father had twelve children, and each child had thirty sons and daughters, the sons being white and the daughters black, and one of these died every day, and yet became immortal.
--------
'There is a grand temple which rests upon a single column, which column is encircled by twelve cities; every city has against its walls thirty flying buttresses, and each buttress has two women, one white and one black, that go round about it in turns. Say what that temple is called.


Whim
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 07:41 am
Two and three (as I'm sure you've seen) seem to refer to a year, twelve months, and 30 days and nights, although obviously not all twelve months have exactly 30 days.
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whimsical
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 02:31 pm
That was my thought too. Problem is, as you said, that not all months have 30 days.


Whim
0 Replies
 
Tryagain
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 03:40 pm
"That was my thought too. Problem is, as you said, that not all months have 30 days."

They did back then. :wink:

RIDDLES.
Taken from
The Cornhill Magazine
July, 1891.
VOL. XVII.--NO. 101, N.S.
Pages 512 - 522
Original Author - Anon.

A RIDDLE is a general term for any puzzling question. Asking riddles has been from time immemorial a favourite source of social entertainment, and more especially so in the ages before the spread of literary tastes and habits. Every language has probably a word of its own domestic growth for this kind of inquiry, just as 'riddle' is a pure and native English word. But for the varieties of fiddling questions, we do not find that languages have generally provided themselves with any corresponding variety of expiession.

The terms enigma, rebus, charade, conundrum, are words of Greek and Latin derivation, and these have become the common property of all literary languages; and there is another term, 'logogriph,' which is used by Ben Jonson, a word made by the French from Greek materials, and signifying word- fishing.

The best established form of riddle is probably the oldest; it is that which we still regard as the most legitimate and the most dignified kind, namely, the enigma. An enigma has been defined as a description which is perfectly true, but couched in metaphorical and recondite language which makes it hard to divine the subject. The following is a true enigma, though a homely example: 'Long legs, crooked thighs, little head, and no eyes.'

Samson's riddle was an enigma; so was that of the Sphinx. The two chief elements in the pristine enigma were metaphor and an appearance of incongruity, sometimes amounting to contradiction. The famous riddle of the Sphinx, which was solved by OEdipus, is entirely rooted in metaphor. 'What is that animal which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon goes on two, and in the evening goes on three feet ?'

Answer: Man. Here morning, noon, and evening are metaphors of infancy, manhood, and age; also, there is a metaphorical use of the word 'feet,' which is applied in one place to hands used for support, and in another place to a staff used as if it were a third foot. The puzzle in Samson's riddle is the result of incongruity joined with abstract terms:
Out of the eater came forth meat,
And out of the strong came forth sweetness.

In the following ancient Greek riddle there is something of both, but it rests chiefly on metaphor. 'A father had twelve children, and each child had thirty sons and daughters, the sons being white and the daughters black, and one of these died every day, and yet became immortal.'

Planudes, a Greek monk at Constantinople in the fourteenth century, tells wonderful tales in his 'Life of AEsop' about the war of riddles that passed between Lycerus, king of Babylon, and Nectanebo, king of Egypt. The king of Babylon was always winner, because he had AEsop at his court, who was more than a match for the wit of the adversary.

Once, Nectanebo thought he was sure to puzzle the Babylonian, and his question was as follows: 'There is a grand temple which rests upon a single column, which column is encircled by twelve cities; every city has against its walls thirty flying buttresses, and each buttress has two women, one white and one black, that go round about it in turns. Say what that temple is called.' AEsop was equal to the occasion, and he explained it thus: The temple is the world, the column is the year, the twelve cities are the months, the thirty buttresses are the days, the two women are light and darkness.

An enigma of a homely nature, and which is probably of high antiquity, to judge not only by what tradition tells about it, but also by the fact that it is still found in some of the detached and less central parts of Europe, is this: 'What we caught we threw away, what we could not catch we kept.' There is an apocryphal legend that Homer died of vexation because he could not solve this riddle.

Here is a modern setting of the same idea. 'He loves her; she has a repugnance to him, and yet she tries to catch him; and if she succeeds, she will be the death of him.'

There have been epochs at which riddle-making has been more especially in vogue, and such epochs would appear to occur at seasons of fresh intellectual awakening. Such an epoch there was at the first glimmering of new intellectual light in the second half of the seventh century. This was the age of Aldhelm, bishop of Sherborne, the first in the roll of Anglo-Latin poets. He left a considerable number of enigmas in Latin hexameters, and they have been repeatedly printed. Aldhelm died in 709. Before his time there was a collection of Latin riddles that bore the name of Symphosius. Of this work the date is unknown.

Problem solved. Very Happy
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whimsical
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Aug, 2004 03:27 am
Thanks.. The answer to the first is a louse or flea or tick, I think.


Whim
0 Replies
 
kev
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Aug, 2004 08:11 am
whimsical wrote:
That was my thought too. Problem is, as you said, that not all months have 30 days.


Whim


Actually Whim the only month that doesn't have 30 days is february if the answer to #3 is not "Year" then it's a hell of a coincidence
0 Replies
 
whimsical
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Aug, 2004 02:43 pm
Yeah, but although all but one have 30 days, some have 31 days. So hence the confusion, or in fact the disappointment.
0 Replies
 
rojo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Aug, 2004 07:50 am
Maybe #2 is Thomas Jefferson's family? Shocked
0 Replies
 
the prince
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Aug, 2004 07:54 am
The first one is moth and a flame
0 Replies
 
 

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