It’s 3 a.m., the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors! It’s your parents and they are here for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?
This riddle has been going around Facebook for a bit and has become really popular. It works by having somebody post this riddle as their status and you message them what you think the answer is. If you’re right you get the satisfaction, if you’re wrong you have to make a giraffe your profile photo. The answer to this riddle is the door. Many people try to say it is “your eyes,” but it is generally accepted that the answer is the door like it was generally meant to be. If you want to be as tedious to say the answer is your eyes than really you could also say your air passage or a number of other answers.
Ancient Greece was a civilization that lasted from around 700 BC to about 600 AD. It spread across Europe and beyond to become one of the most powerful civilizations to ever exist. This civilization was home to many of the greatest men of history including Homer, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. A less known fact about these great men of academia is that they loved riddles. Here is a riddle in Homer’s life:
We have what we did not find; what we did find we left behind.
The answer to this riddle is lice. Homer supposedly journeyed to an island called Ios and was posed this riddle by some boys who were just fishing. He then dies while pondering the answer.
The father of philosophy, Socrates, was also a man of riddles. The most popular one comes from the Oracle of Delphi. The Oracle is asked by a man:
Is anyone wiser than Socrates?
The Oracle answers simply with “no!” This becomes a riddle for Socrates and he must find out why this Oracle said he is the wisest person since he knows that he is not. Eventually he comes to the conclusion that his wisdom comes from the fact that he can admit that he does not always know the answer, unlike other wise men.
Aristotle is probably the best Philosopher of the Greek empire with many of his original writings are still very relevant, even today. He thought that they were very useful in creating metaphors and explaining things that would be very hard to explain otherwise (through the use of straightforward text). Here is what he said about riddles:
Well-constructed riddles are attractive [because] a new idea is conveyed, … The thought is startled, and … does not fit in with the ideas you already have… The effect produced … is a surprise.
Plato is one of the best and first philosophers in Western society. Being one of the first great academic men of history he had very little to work off of and a lot of work to do. One little known fact about him is that he was a sucker for some good riddles. One of his riddles from his dialogue, the Republic, goes as follows:
There is a story that a man and not a man Saw and did not see a bird and not a bird Perched on a branch and not a branch And hit him and did not hit him with a rock and not a rock.
Essentially this riddle is asking you how this set of conditions could be possible. The answer is pretty clever and allows for all of the ambiguity in the riddle:
A eunuch who did not see well saw a bat perched on a reed and threw a pumice stone at him which missed.
Edgar Allan Poe is a great poet who has written countless well-known works. But did you know he was also an avid writer of riddles. He also thought of himself as one of the greatest cipher/riddle solvers of his time. Here is one of his great riddles from one of his short stories called The Gold-bug:
This riddle is a cryptogram and can be decrypted using a substitution cipher using letter frequencies. When decrypted this reads:
A good glass in the bishop’s hostel in the devil’s seat twenty-one degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north main branch seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the death’s-head a bee line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out.
Dan Brown is a great author, one of the greatest of our time and has become wildly popular recently for his novels staring Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor. These books have a lot of great riddles that have been taken from real history and combined into the story in a comprehensive way. One of his riddle from one of his novels Angels and Demons:
From Santi’s Earthly Tomb with Demons Hole, ‘Cross Rome the mystic elements unfold, The Path of Light is laid, the sacred test, Let angels guide you on your lofty quest.
The meaning of this riddle dictates Robert Langdon’s movements across Rome and the Vatican in attempting to save the city itself and four of the cardinals who are up to be the next pope. For the answer to the riddle and more on Dan Brown’s riddles visit Riddles of Dan Brown.
For some great riddles of your own visit Good Riddles Now’s kids riddles section.