Exeter Riddle 32


Date: Sun 07 Dec 2014
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 32
Original text:

Is þes middangeard     missenlicum
wisum gewlitegad,     wrættum gefrætwad.
Siþum sellic     ic seah searo hweorfan,
grindan wið greote,     giellende faran.
5     Næfde sellicu wiht     syne ne folme,
exle ne earmas;     sceal on anum fet
searoceap swifan,     swiþe feran,
faran ofer feldas.     Hæfde fela ribba;
muð wæs on middan.     Moncynne nyt,
10     fereð foddurwelan,     folcscipe dreogeð,
wist in wigeð,     ond werum gieldeð
gaful geara gehwam     þæs þe guman brucað,
rice ond heane.     Rece, gif þu cunne,
wis worda gleaw,     hwæt sio wiht sie.


This middle-earth is made beautiful
in various ways, adorned with ornaments.
At times I saw strange contraption move about,
grind against the grit, go screaming.
5     The strange creature did not have sight nor hands,
shoulders nor arms; on one foot must
the cunning contraption move, powerfully journey,
going over fields. It had many ribs;
its mouth was in the middle. Useful to mankind,
10     it bears an abundance of food, works for the people,
carries sustenance within, and yields to men
treasure every year that those men enjoy,
rich and poor. Tell, if you know,
wise and prudent in words, what that creature may be.

Click to show riddle solution?
Ship, Wagon, Millstone, Wheel, Wheelbarrow


This riddle appears on folio 108v of The Exeter Book.

The above Old English text is based on this edition: Elliott van Kirk Dobbie and George Philip Krapp, eds, The Exeter Book, Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records 3 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936), pages 196-7.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 30: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 87.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 32 

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