Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/34

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34 (k-d 58)


I know a thing     with a single foot
doing deeds of might.     It travels not
nor rides much,     nor can it fly
through the clear air;     nor does ship carry it,
a boat with nailed planks.     It is nevertheless
useful to its master     at many times.
It has a heavy tail     and a small head
and a long tongue.     It has no tooth;
part is of iron.     It goes through a hollow.
It swallows no water,     it eats nothing,
it desires no fodder.     Often notwithstanding
it bears water aloft.     It boasts not of life
or of gifts from its chief.     It obeys nonetheless
its master’s word.     In its name there are
three real runes.    
Rād is the first.









10





Ic wat anfete     ellen dreogan
wiht on wonge     wide ne fereð
ne fela rideð     ne fleogan mæg
þurh scirne dæg     ne hie scip fereð
naca nægledbord     nyt bið hwæþre
hyre dryht ne     monegum tidum
hafað hefigne steort     heafod lytel
tungan lange     toð nænigne
Isernes dæl     eorðgræf pæþeð
wætan ne swelgeþ     ne wiht Iteþ
foþres ne gitsað     fereð oft swa þeah
lagoflod on lyfte     life ne gielpeð
hlafordes gifum     hyreð swa þeana
þeodne sinum     þry sind In naman
ryhte runstafas     þara is
rād furum.

Rād is the name of the rune for R and also means ‘riding’ (note also “rides” in l. 3); in short, a Riding-well, or well with bucket and sweep.