A Brief History of Riddles

Riddles are solved all over the world. There are riddles from Mongolia, Finland, China, Russia, Africa, Persia, India, Hungary, Scandinavia and The Philippines. The Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks and also the American Indians all admired riddle solvers. Riddles have been around since before recorded history. In certain cultures, they were one of the ways folklore was handed from one generation to the next.

As per Greek mythology, the Sphinx sat outside of Thebes and asked passing travellers a riddle. In case they could not answer, they would die.

"What goes on 4 legs in the morning, on 2 legs at noon, and also on three legs in the evening?"

When Oedipus gave the correct answer, male, the Sphinx destroyed herself.

The Ancient Greeks thought highly of riddles as they were supposed to demonstrate the intelligence of a male. Homer, who published the story of Oedipus, was thought to have died indirectly due to a riddle he was unable to solve.

"What we caught we threw away. What we did not catch, we kept."

The answer is Lice.

There is the riddle Samson uses to outwit the Philistines, in the Bible.

"Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the good came something sweet."

The answer was that Samson had taken honey from a hive that had been established in the carcass of a lion.

In the Middle Ages, street entertainers lived by asking riddles. In case they could possibly come up with a fascinating riddle, they had the ability to entice travellers to pay them.

In Africa, riddles were at one time used as a rite of passage for young individuals. Occasionally today, they are used as a non-violent form of competitive game.Image result for Riddles

In Fiji, they previously held the champions and riddle tournaments will have a feast held in their honour.

This riddle was said to be a favourite of Theodore Roosevelt.

I talk, but I don't speak the mind of mine.
I take note of words, but I do not listen to thoughts.
When I wake, all see me.
When I sleep, all hear me.
Many heads are on my shoulders.
Many hands are at the legs of mine.
The strongest steel can't break the visage of mine.
But, probably the softest whisper is able to destroy me.

The solution is an actor.

Riddles are still widely used today although getting the proper answer isn't a matter of death or life, as it was in ancient times.