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Riddle-di-dee

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By Fiona Reid
Nostalgia
Riddle-di-dee

A COLLECTION of folk riddles was put together in the parish of Glencairn in the 19th century. And they were published by James Shaw in his book, “A Country Schoolmaster”, who was keen to preserve them.

Can you work out the answers? (see bottom of page)

  1. What is it that you have and I have not, and I use it more than you?
  2. What goes through the wood and leaves a brat on every bush?
  3. As white as snaw, but snaw it’s not; as red as blood, but blood it’s not; as black as ink, but ink it’s not?
  4. Through the wood and through the wood, And through the wood it ran. And though it is a wee thing, It could kill a big man.

Shaw also shared some children’s rhymes from the time, such as:

“No a beast in a’ the glen/Laid an egg like Picken’s hen; some witch wife we dinna ken/Sent a whittret frae its den, Sooked the blood o’Picken’s hen/Picken’s hen cauld and dead, lying on the midden head.”

There was a popular Hogmanay rhyme among youngsters too:

“Hogmanay, troll lol lay.

Gie’s a piece of pancake, and let us win away,

We neither came to your door, to beg nor to borrow,

But we came to your door, to sing away sorrow.

Get up guidwife and shake your feathers,

Dinna think that we are beggars,

But boys and girls come out to play,

And to seek our Hogmanay!

And another for Valentine’s:

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,

The lily’s sweet and so are you,

And so is he who sent you this,

And when we meet we’ll have a kiss.

Meanwhile, this one might seem familiar, it’s about magpies and some folk today still recite a similar version:

One’s sorrow, two’s mirth,

Three’s a wedding, four’s a birth,

Five’s a funeral, six is snaw,

Seven draws the dead awa’.

 

Riddle answers

Your name

Snow

A bramble

A bullet

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