Showing posts with label riddles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label riddles. Show all posts

Friday, April 21, 2017

Riddle Me This! Riddle Night at The Crow's Nest Photos

Terra Barrett and Dale Jarvis hosting Riddle Me This!
Photo by Kelly Drover.

We hurt without moving, we poison without touching. 
We bare the truth and the lies. 
We are not to be judged by our size. 
What are we?
(Answer below)

This week our office hosted Riddle Me This an open mic night of traditional riddles at the Crow's Nest. Dale and I came prepped with a selection of riddles from online sources, friends and family, and Memorial University's Folklore and Language Archives. Several audience members also brought riddles to puzzle the audience. It was a great evening of brain work outs and we had requests for a repeat session. We even had one audience member who came decked out in a riddler inspired outfit.

We recorded the riddling session and are working on a list of the traditional and contemporary riddles rhymed off  on Tuesday night. Stay tuned to the blog updates where we will post the completed list and let us know if you would like to see this event again!

~Terra Barrett

Sara Anne Johnson, in her riddler dress, and Dale Jarvis at Riddle Me This!
Photo by Terra Barrett.
Answer: Words

Friday, April 7, 2017

Riddle Me This! A night of traditional riddles!

Riddle Me This!
Crow's Nest Officer's Club
Tuesday, 18th April, 2017 - 7:30pm
$3 at the door (seating is limited!)

The more you have of me, the less you see. What am I? 

Come out and join host and riddle master for the evening, folklorist Dale Jarvis, for a night celebrating traditional riddles and wordplay. Come test your cleverness, bring a riddle or two of your own, and participate in this event celebrating one of Newfoundland and Labrador's oral traditions! $3 at the door.

Don't be left in the darkness (hint hint!)

Facebook event listing

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Counting crows, and poem from Tilting, Fogo Island. #FolkloreThursday

On Monday last, I gave a guest lecture on intangible cultural heritage for Scott Neilsen's Cultural Resource Management (CRM) course at Memorial University. I talked to the class about the five domains of ICH as defined by UNESCO, and gave examples from a Newfoundland and Labrador perspective.

While talking about oral traditions and expressions, I challenged them with a couple traditional riddles, and then two students spoke up with rhymes that they had learned when younger.

First up was Rebekah Nolan, who had a fantastic version of a counting crows rhyme which I'd not heard before. I've written about crow counting rhymes before, but Rebecca's version was new to me. She learned it in San Luis Obispo ("America's happiest city" apparently) circa 2003:

One for sadness
Two for mirth
Three for marriage
Four for birth
Five for laughing
Six for crying
Seven for sickness
Eight for dying
Nine for silver
Ten for gold
Eleven for a secret that will never be told
Twelve for darkness
Thirteen for light
Fifteen for morning
Sixteen for night.

The second was from Jackie Tizzard, who had a rhyme she learned from her mother, who was a Burke from Tilting, Fogo Island.  "She could never tell me where it came from," Jackie told me. This was her rhyme:

"Long has been my cherished hope,
Upon my dying day,
To lie upon some sunny slope
And dream my life away."

Jackie thought it might be a riddle, but didn't know the answer. 

The rhyme is not a riddle at all, and neither does it originate on Fogo Island. It is, rather, a quote from a book, The red cow and her friends, by Peter McArthur, published in 1919, in Toronto, Ontario, by J.M. Dent & Sons. It is a fascinating book on farm life, with stories on sick cows, feeding pigs, racoon hunts, and horse contrariness. How a line of it came to be memorized by a young Miss Burke in Tilting is anyone's guess.

The full quote is as follows:

Although the oak is my particular friend among the trees on the farm, there are others with which I can claim at least an acquaintanceship. There is a maple at the edge of the wood-lot that always makes me feel uncomfortable, because I have a feeling that it has a joke on me. It stands on what would be called rising ground " which means an elevation that does not deserve to be called a hill " and while lying on the grass in its shade I can see over several farms to the south and east. It used to be a favourite of my boyhood, and once I composed a poem while lying in its shade. If you bear in mind the fact that I was seventeen years of age at the time you will understand why the tree has a joke on me. Here is the only stanza I can remember of the little poem I composed to express the "unmannerly sadness" of youth.

It long has been my cherished hope Upon my dying day To lie down on some sunny slope And dream my life away.

At that age I could not have cherished the hope so very long, and the old tree must have chuckled to its last twig at my absurdity. Anyway, I never see the tree without recalling that wretched stanza, and I immediately hurry away to some other part of the woods.

Got a piece of folk poetry stuck in your head, or a counting crow rhyme of your own? Leave a comment below, or send me an email at

- Dale Jarvis

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Two Tasty Riddles

I started off my Food, Folklore, and Tourism talk on Monday with these two riddles, and I figured I'd include them here for other lovers of traditional riddles:

Riddle One:

Flour of England,
Fruit of Spain,

Met together

In a shower of rain,

Put in a bag

And tied with a string,

If you tell me this riddle,
I'll give you a ring.

Riddle Two:

Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot,
Nine days old.
Spell me that in four letters?

Guess away!