Sunday, December 19, 2004

Lantern Riddles

Riddles on the Lantern Festival may be more popular in Taiwan today than they are in China.

Little boy red-jacket, whither away?
To the house with the ivory portals I stray.
Say will you come back again, little redcoat?
My bones will return, but my flesh will remain.

But if you want some that can be used in elementary school, try these:

1. When you cry, she cries. When you laugh, she laughs.
When you ask her who she is, She says, “You know.”

2. It looks green, it opens red.
What you eat is red, but what you spit out is black.

3. Had at work day and night, it counts the numbers over and over.
Although it counts all its life, it never gets past twelve.

4. Branches grow on its head; it wears spotted clothes.
Not a donkey of a horse, it runs like the wind.

5. They are twin sisters, same height; they work in the kitchen, arm in arm. Whatever is cooked, they always try it first.
- OR - Brothers, all pair up; Bodies firm and tall. You only care to eat the solid food, and don’t care to eat the soup.

6. Red through and through, it has no mouth
But it eats many things; it fears water but not wind.

7. From far away it looks like a city wall. Up close it looks like a row of houses. In a day it can travel 1,000 miles, & it can carry 1,000,000 bushels of food.

8. For me, I slap you. Because of you, I slap me. Hitting your skin, my blood flows.

9. This guy runs fast but cannot stand. People ride this horse that never eats grass. - OR –
A strange horse, Two round, round legs;
Step on its frame, Grasp its two horns.

10. 2 small boats, 5 guests in each; sail on land but never on water;
Busy during the daytime, anchored at night. - OR -
Two small boats go west and east, Ten passengers ride inside;
Daytime they come & go, Nighttime they leave & boat’s empty.

11. Wash it and it isn't clean. Don't wash it and then it's clean;
Wash it and you can't eat it. Don't wash it & then you can eat it.

12. If will follow you for 1000 miles but not miss home.
It desires neither food nor flowers. It fears not water, fire, knives, nor soldiers. But it disappears when the sun sets behind the western mountains.

13. No one goes through the red door, inside lies a red stone,
It swings back and forth. It is very wet and never gets dry.

14. Half is on the ground, half is in the ground,
Half is solid, and half empty, Half is white, and half green,
Half is eaten, and half thrown away.

15. Now to the left, now to the right.
I can only tell day and night. But spring and summer I care not.

16. Looking at it, there are divisions; feeling it, there are no divisions. The two ends are cold as ice; the middle is as hot as a flame.

17. Has a head but has no neck, its body is as cold as ice; It has no feet but can travel thousand miles, has wings but cannot fly.
- OR - On his body he wears a robe. He has eyes, but no eyebrows. He has wings, but he can’t fly. He has no feet, but he can travel one thousand miles.

18. Ten children together play,
And each has a tile on top of his head.

19. One east, One west,
They die without seeing each other.

20. Ten plus ten, Still is ten,
Ten minus ten, Again is ten.

21. It is a very tiny dragon, whose whiskers are as hard as palm trees. While living, it has no blood, after it dies, its whole body turns red.

22. On the grass, there are many tiny pearls. Round so round! Bright so bright! Alas! They cannot be strung.

23. Seen from after, it looks like a pair shoes; Seen up close, there are no laces. Don’t enter it casually, because once you enter, you can never come out again.

24. A small, small little boy of silver, Wears red, green, or yellow,
With a lazy woman he’s quite comfortable, but with an industrious woman he is always in hurry.

25. This is truly a strange object; naturally produced, yet it fears the sunshine. If the sun doesn’t shine, it won't get wet; the more the sun shines, the quicker it gets drenched.

26. In youth, it has two horns; reaching maturity, its horns disappear. Aging past twenty, it has two horns as before.

27. A red maiden, clever and petite. Sometimes she comes short, sometimes tall. When tall, people wear light linen. When short, people wear padded cotton. - OR –
The red maiden, Lives in a small lane; Short in the winter, Long in the summer.

28. Young its hair is white. Come old age its hair is black;
Idle it wears a hat. And busy takes it off.

29. Like a cloud but not a cloud. Like smoke but not smoke;
The wind's breath sends it floating lightly by. The sun slowly breaks it apart.

30. His body’s draped with a large skin cloak. He eats the grass on the mountain slope. So that others may warmly bundle up, he gladly takes off his body's fur coat.

31. Goes out the door fat and plump; Comes in as thin as a stick.
Resting against a wall, Its tears drip and drip.

32. In winter, you see it frequently; In summer, it is rarely seen.
Use it and you don't see it; See it when you don't use it.

33. The house is dark and black inside; the window is not opened often. Once the window is thrown open, you will be pulled into the house.

34. Water can't move it. Fire can't burn it.
Eat it and you are not full. But everyone needs it.

35. Yellow gold clothes. Wrap a silver bar;
The middle bends, Upward turn both ends.

No comments: