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Riddle-poems are a lot of fun. They're an amusing game for children and adults, a connection to history

J.R.R. Tolkien's Riddle-Poems

In The Hobbit, there is an important scene in which Bilbo Baggins plays the riddle-game with Gollum. Tolkien was an expert on the language and poetry of Anglo-Saxon; his riddles were clearly modeled on the riddle-poems in the Book of Exeter. Here they are:



  Riddle: What has roots as nobody sees,

                 Is taller than trees,

                Up, up it goes

                And yet never grows?


  Answer: A mountain.


  Riddle: Thirty white horses on a red hill,

                First they champ,

                Then they stamp,

                Then they stand still.


  Answer: Teeth in your mouth.


  Riddle: Voiceless it cries,

                Wingless flutters,

                Toothless bites,

                Mouthless mutters.


  Answer: The wind.


  Riddle: An eye in a blue face

                Saw an eye in a green face,

              "That eye is like to this eye"

                Said the first eye,

               "But in low place,

                 Not in high place."


  Answer: Sun on a field of daisies.


  Riddle: 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 first and follows after,

               Ends life, kills laughter.


  Answer: Darkness.


  Riddle: A box without hinges, key, or lid,

          Yet golden treasure inside is hid.


  Answer: An egg.


  Riddle: Alive without breath,

          As cold as death;

          Never thirsty, ever drinking,

          All in mail, never clinking.


  Answer: A fish.



  Riddle: This thing all things devours:

          Birds, trees, beasts, flowers;

          Gnaws iron, bites steel;

          Grinds hard stones to meal;

          Slays king, ruins town,

          And beats high mountain down.


  Answer: Time.



JRR Tolkien. Poem


All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by frost.



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