|Facsimile of the Exeter Book, 10th century|
Here are some of the riddles...
"A splendid thing hangs near a man's thigh,
Under his cloak. It is stiff, strong,
Bold, brassy, and pierced in front.
When a young lord lifts his tunic
Over his knees, he wants to greet
With the hard head of this hanging creature
The familiar hole it has long come to fill."
|Answer: A key|
"I am a wonderful thing, a joy to women,
Useful to all neighbours. I harm
No citizen except my slayer.
Rooted I stand up high and steep over the 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."
|Answer: an onion|
"I heard of something rising in a corner,
Swelling and standing up, lifting its cover.
The proud-hearted woman grabbed at that boneless
Wonder with her hands; the prince's daughter
Covered that swelling thing with a swirl of cloth."
"Sometimes a lady, comely and proud,
Locks me up, boxes me tight -
Sometimes draws me out on demand
And hands me over to her fine lord
Who shoves his hard head in my hole,
Slides up from below while I slip down -
A tight squeeze. If the man who seizes me
Presses with strength, something shaggy
Will fill me up, muscle me out--
Guess what I mean."
|Answer: a nice clean shirt|