Page:Primitive Culture Vol 1.djvu/109

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91
RIDDLES.

who are many and form a row; they dance the wedding-dance, adorned in white hip-dresses?' A. ' The teeth; we call them men who form a row, for the teeth stand like men who are made ready for a wedding-dance, that they may dance well. When we say, they are "adorned with white hip-dresses," we put that in, that people may not at once think of teeth, but be drawn away from them by thinking, "It is men who put on white hip-dresses," and continually have their thoughts fixed on men,' &c. Q. 'Guess ye a man who does not lie down at night: he lies down in the morning until the sun sets; he then awakes, and works all night; he does not work by day; he is not seen when he works?' A. 'The closing-poles of the cattle-pen.' Q. 'Guess ye a man whom men do not like to laugh, for it is known that his laughter is a very great evil, and is followed by lamentation, and an end of rejoicing. Men weep, and trees, and grass; and everything is heard weeping in the tribe where he laughs; and they say the man has laughed who does not usually laugh?' A. 'Fire. It is called a man that what is said may not be at once evident, it being concealed by the word "man." Men say many things, searching out the meaning in rivalry, and missing the mark. A riddle is good when it is not discernible at once,' &c.[1] Among the Basutos, riddles are a recognized part of education, and are set like exercises to a whole company of puzzled children. Q. 'Do you know what throws itself from the mountain top without being broken?' A. 'A waterfall.' Q. 'There is a thing that travels fast without legs or wings, and no cliff, nor river, nor wall can stop it?' A. 'The voice.' Q. 'Name the ten trees with ten flat stones on the top of them.' A. 'The fingers.' Q. 'Who is the little immovable dumb boy who is dressed up warm in the day and left naked at night?' A. 'The bed-clothes' peg.'[2] From East Africa, this Swahili riddle is an

  1. Callaway, 'Nursery Tales, &c. of Zulus,' vol. i. p. 364, &c.
  2. Casalis, 'Études sur la langue Séchuana,' p. 91; 'Basutos,' p. 337.