Three riddles - one answer
This entry was posted on September 15, 2021.
I am a big fan of medieval riddles - I enjoy the challenge in answering them. They can sometimes be easy, but others tricky. They do tell us a lot about how past societies thought of everyday objects and how they enjoyed wordplay.
Recently, I came across three riddles recorded in Mark Byrant’s Dictionary of Riddles, published in 1990. Two date from the Middle Ages, and one is from a more modern time.
The first riddle can be found in The Saga of Hervör and Heidrek, a thirteenth-century Scandinavian saga:
What is the marvel which I have seen outside Delling’s doorway? It flies high, with a whistling sound like the whirring of an eagle. Hard it is to clutch.
The second riddle comes from the fourteenth century, as the Czech monk Claretus came up with this:
What flies without flesh?
The final riddle comes from an 18th-century book called Whetstone for Dull Wits:
By sparks in fine lawn
I am lustily drawn,
But not in a chariot or coach;
I fly, in a word,
More swift than bird,
That does the green forest approach.
What connects these three riddles? The answer is the answer, which in this case is an arrow.