Riddle 13 (or 11)

Ic seah turf tredan,      X wæron ealra,
VI gebroþor      ond hyra sweostor mid;
hæfdon feorg cwico.      Fell hongedon
sweotol ond gesyne      on seles wæge
5     anra gehwylces.      Ne wæs hyra ængum þy wyrs,
ne siðe þy sarre,      þeah hy swa sceoldon
reafe birofene,      rodra weardes
meahtum aweahte,      muþum slitan
haswe blede.      Hrægl bið geniwad
10     þam þe ær forðcymene      frætwe leton
licgan on laste,      gewitan lond tredan.

I saw them walk on the ground, there were ten of them in all,
six brothers and their sisters with them;
they had living spirits. The skins of each of them hung
clear and visible on the walls
5     of the hall. It was not worse for any of them,
nor the journey more grievous, though thus they,
bereft of their clothing, awoken through the might
of heaven’s guardian, were compelled to tear with their mouths
the dusky harvest. The garments are renewed
10     for them who, before having come forth, left their trappings
lying in their wake, they depart to walk on the ground.

Highlight the box with your cursor to reveal the possible solutions: Ten chickens (this is the generally accepted one), ten pheasants, butterfly cocoon, alphabet, moth, fingers and gloves. We’ll discuss some of these in the commentary!


2 thoughts on “Riddle 13 (or 11)

  1. Melissa Furrow

    Why not sheep? They have been shorn, their fells (but really just their fleece) are washed and hanging to dry on the wall of the hall, clear and plain because they are on the outside in the sun instead of decorating the inside; despite having been “skinned” they are alive, feel no harm, walk away from the trappings left on the ground, have their garments renewed.

    1. mammon81

      A very interesting thought, Melissa! The commentary on this riddle will go up very soon, where the reasons behind the currently accepted solution are explained (which is not to say that it’s necessarily ‘right’, of course).

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