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      One of the oldest puzzles in existance is the riddle. People all over the world have played at riddles since the beginning of recorded history. Riddles even come into the Bible, figure prominently in Greek and Roman mythology, and play a large part in many stories from the middle ages.
       Here are some interesting riddles for you to try your hand at:

What is neither in the house,
Nor out of the house,
But still part of the house?

In his book, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll posed a riddle that no one has ever solved:

How is a raven like a writing desk?

Maybe it was just nonsense, or maybe it wasn't--can you think of a solution to this unsolved riddle?

Click here to see some posible answers

It runs up the hill,
And runs down the hill,
But in spite of all,
It stands still.

Big as a barn,
Light as a feather,
And sixty horses can't pull it.

Two lookers,
Two crookers,
Four standers,
One switch-about.

Guess a riddle now you must:
Stone is fire, and fire is dust,
Black is red, and red is white-
Come and view the wondrous sight.

What is it that belongs to you,
But others use it more than you do?

In J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit, the hero, Bilbo, becomes lost in a vast network of caves. There he meets a subterranean creature named Gollum, and soon finds himself playing a high stakes game of riddles with him. If Bilbo wins, Gollum will show him the way out, but if Gollum wins, he is planning to make a meal of Bilbo!
      Here are the riddles they used so you can see how you match up. Gollum's riddles are in green, Bilbo's are in blue.

What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up up it goes,
And yet never grows

Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still.

Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.

An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
"That eye is like this eye"
Said the first eye,
"But in low place,
Not in high place."

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.

A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.

Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.

No-legs lay on one-leg, two legs sat near on three legs, four legs got some.

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stone to meal;
Slays king ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

Lives in winter,
Dies in summer,
And grows with its roots upwards.

The faster you run,
the harder it is to catch me.

What yesterday was, and what tomorrow will be.

What has never been felt,
Never been seen, never been heard,
Never existed,
And still has a name.

It walks east, west, north, and south,
Has a tongue, but nary a mouth.

Go down, and we stay.
Come up and we go.

It has four legs and a foot
And can't walk,
It has a head
And can't talk.

I went hunting in the wood,
And those I found and killed I left behind,
And those I could not find
I brought home with me.

What is long and slim,
Works in the light,
Has but one eye,
And an awful bite?

What is full of holes and holds watter?

What is that thing which you cannot hold for five minutes,
Yet it is light as a feather.

I tremble with each breath of air,
And yet can heaviest burdens bear.

In the Bible, the hero Samson asked a riddle at his wedding (Judges 14:12-14):

        "Let me tell you a riddle," Samson said to them. "If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can't tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes."
        "Tell us the riddle," they said. "Let's hear it."
        He replied,
"Out of the eater, something to eat;out of the strong something sweet."

This riddle is almost impossible if you don't know the storry behind it--Samson's guests certainly thought so. They couldn't figure it out for four days! So they went to Samson's new wife and she gave them the answer. But when they came back and gave the answer to Samson he knew what was going on immediately and answered them with another riddle:

"If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have solved my riddle"

But they already knew the answer to this one!

Tie it and it walks,
Unfasten it and it stops.

It runs and runs and never tires,
Down and down, never up.

Round as a biscuit,
Busy as a bee,
Prettiest little thing
you ever did see.

The more you take from it,
The larger it gets.

Black within and red without,
Four corners 'round about.

The great artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, arguably one of the greatest geniuses of the Rennaissance, enjoyed telling riddles. He took common events and made them sound frightening or horrible, he called them "his prophesies." Here are some of Leonardo's prophesies (taken from the book Leonardo da Vinci for Kids) :

Likenesses of men and animals will follow them wherever they go.

The waters of the sea will rise above the mountains and fall on the homes of men.

Out of cavernous pits shall come forth that which will make all the nations of the world toil and sweat with great torment, anxiety, and labor, that they may gain its aid.

Men will walk and not move, talk to those who are not present, and hear those who do not speak.

One shall arise from small beginnings that will rapidly become great. it shall have respect for no created thing, but by its power it shall transform almost everything from its natural condition into another.

What is it that which you and every living man have seen, but can never see again?

Two fingers and a thumb,
Yet flesh and bone have I none.

If you would like to submit any riddles you have to this site, please e-mail them (and their answers) to me at cfhea_k@yahoo.com .

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