Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More Lantern Riddles

Riddles on the Lantern Festival may be more popular in Taiwan today than they are in China. I find these harder than the ones I considered for elementary school.

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.

A thick-skinned face. A stomach all empty;
Whack it with a stick; it cries tong, tong, tong.

When small, it walks on four legs. When grown, it walks on two legs.
When old, it walks on three legs.

It fears not water, fire, knives, nor soldiers. But it disappears when the sun sets behind the western mountains.

Brothers, all pair up; Bodies firm and tall.
You only care to eat the solid food, And don’t care to eat the soup.

An old man with long hair on his feet, Gets up early in the morn;
And creeps all over the floor.

Eight brothers carry a drum, Carry it to the city to see my mother-in-law,
My mother-in-law says we brothers are many, The two behind she does not count.

The sun escorts me on up to the sky, Lord wind escorts me to the four quarters,
Pitiable, I cry with tearful eyes; I can’t return to my old home.

A picture, bright and clear; With trees, grass, and flowers.
Elsewhere, they all upward stretch; Here, they all reach down.

Red, yellow, blue and white, they can change their shapes;
They take forms like phoenixes and dragons.
Coming and going a thousand li, they do not stop to rest;
In one gust, a light breeze blows them dry and clean.

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

A ball, round, it rolls along.
At night, no one sees it;. By day, it is there for every house.

Shaped like a rat, Acts like a monkey.
Climbing on the tree branches, Busily picking nuts.

The oldsters have feet, but no tails; The youngsters have tails, but no feet.
When the youngsters grow as big as the oldsters. They have feet, but no tails.

Tiny little town, Billets an encampment of soldiers;
Marching out of the town. A red lantern dots each head.
?, drum, person, shadow, chopsticks, broom, crab, reflection, clouds, dew, sun, squirrel, frog, matches

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