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Monday, 30 June 2014

Shaping a Text:  Work for Week 9 

Riddles are worth thinking about because most texts have something of a riddle about them.  The end of the story has a twist which is like the solution to a riddle.    The ‘hook’ in a story or poem draws you in because you’re asking ‘what is it?’,  ‘what’s going on? They are also collaborative, the reader trying to read the writer’s mind.

Riddles are often thought of as a children’s writing (or telling).   But the Anglo-Saxon’s treated them as an adult form.

Anglo Saxon Riddles in Translation
When I am alive I do not speak. 
Anyone who wants to takes me captive and cuts off my head. 
They bite my bare body 
I do no harm to anyone unless they cut me first. 
Then I soon make them cry.

I was abandoned by my mother and father. 
I wasn't yet breathing. 
A kind woman covered me with clothes, 
Kept me and looked after me, 
Cuddled me as close as if I had been her own child. 
Under that covering I grew and grew. 
I was unkind to my adopted brothers and sisters. 
This lovely woman fed me 
Until I was big enough to set out on my own. 
She had fewer of her own dear sons and daughters because she did so.

Four dilly-dandies (teats on the udder) 
Four stick standies (legs) 
Two crookers (horns) 
Two lookers (eyes) 
And a wig wag (tail)

A wonderful warrior exists on earth. 
Two dumb creatures make him grow bright between them. 
Enemies use him against one another. 
His strength is fierce but a woman can tame him. 
He will meekly serve both men and women 
If they know the trick of looking after him 
And feeding him properly. 
He makes people happy. 
He makes their lives better. 
But if they let him grow proud 

This ungrateful friend soon turns against them.

Part of the earth grows lovely and grim
With the hardest and fiercest of bittersharp
Treasures—felled, cut, carved,
Bleached, scrubbed, softened, shaped,
Twisted, rubbed, dried, adorned,
Bound, and borne off to the doorways of

I am a wonderful help to women,
The hope of something to come. I harm
No citizen except my slayer.
Rooted I stand on a high bed.
I am shaggy below. Sometimes the beautiful
Peasant's daughter, an eager-armed,
Proud woman grabs my body,
Rushes my red skin, holds me hard,
Claims my head.  The curly-haired
Woman who catches me fast will feel
Our meeting. Her eye will be wet.

                                                               Riddles for young children
I am a pear
that breaks easily.
If you like
I’ll shine
above your head

When the time comes
I can stand up boldly in the middle of a field
and make a big arc in the sky
all gold and glittering.
Sometimes it makes rainbows too.

How come I’ve got a mouth
but no head?
How come I’ve got a bank

I’ve got no feet
but I go fast.
I’ve got no wings.
but I glide

I go through walls like a ghost.
I come out a hollow stick.
I come out of lengths of wire.
I come out of hairs from a horse’s mane.
I come out of skin.
I come out of scraping
and hitting
and blowing.

When you hear my deep heart beating
you cannot keep still

but no money?
How can I run
when I’ve got no legs?

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