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Appalachian Riddles with Answers

Compiled by Tina L. Hanlon

question markBelow are answers with the riddles from the AppLit page Appalachian Riddles. Go to that page if you want to look at the riddles without the answers first, or the source information and bibliography. From that page, click on the question marks to see each answer on this page. Use your back button to go back to the main riddle page after reading an answer.

Riddles in Archives

What is it that wears shoes and has no feet?



Why does the cow go over the mountain?

Because she can't go through it.


Within a marble dome confined,
Whose milk-white walls with silk are lined,
There doth a golden ball appear
Bathed in a stream of crystal clear
No doors or windows you behold
Yet thieves break in and steal the gold.

An egg (see egg riddle from Still, below)

Riddles in Books, Articles, and Recordings


How's a hen on a fence like a penny?

got a tail on one side 'n a head on t'other



Humpy Bumpy on a wall
Humpy Bumpy got a fall
Ten men, ten more
Can't fix Humpy Bumpy
The way she was before.




Mr. Huddle sat in a puddle
With a green cap and yellow shoes.



one thing another i sent to my brother
all full of holes and no holes nother

Honey Comb


Orville Hicks

It's between Heaven and Earth, not on a tree.
Now I've told you, and you tell me. What is it?

A knot on a tree


A houseful, a yardful,
but you can't catch a spoonful.
What is it?




What goes around the house and makes only one track?

A wheelbarrow


What has eighteen legs and catches flies?

A baseball team


What has a bed, but does not sleep?
What has a mouth, but does not speak?
It always runs and never walks.

A river

Loyal Jones and Billy Edd Wheeler

"What's the difference among the Prince of Wales, a bald-headed man, a young monkey, and an orphan child?

The Prince of Wales is the heir apparent, the bald-headed man has no hair apparent, the monkey has a hairy parent, and the orphan child ain't got nary parent."


 What's round as a biscuit
          And deep as a cup
The Cumberland River can't fill it up?

A sifter or sieve



       Purple, yellow, red and green,
The king cannot reach it, nor can the queen,
     Nor can Noll, whose power is so great.
     Tell me this riddle while I count eight.



May Justus

It never moves by day or night,
Yet keeps on going out of sight.

A path or road


Although it never asked a thing
Of any mortal man,
Everybody answers it
As quickly as he can.

A knock on the door.


Red in the valley,
Red on the hill.
Feed it, live it will.
Water it, it will die.
This is true, and not a lie.



Milnes, Gerald. Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes.

I went down to Grandfather's hall,
There I heard an old man call;
His beard was flesh, his mouth was horn,
And such a creature was never born.

A rooster (pictured in a top hat with a cane in this book), not born but hatched from an egg


Roberts, Leonard. I Bought Me a Dog: A Dozen Authentic Folktales from the Southern Mountains.

Crooked as a rainbow, teeth like a cat,
Guess all your lifetime and you can't guess that.



Once I knew a man of Adam's race,
And he had a certain dwelling place,
It wasn't in heaven nor it wasn't in hell,
Nor it wasn't on earth where the people dwell:
Who was this man and where did he dwell?

Jonah in the whale's belly



King met a king in a narrow lane,
King says to king, "What is your name?"
Silver is my saddle, gold is my bow,
I've told you my name three times in a row.
And yet you don't know.



Riddles Collected by James Still

At three months of age it has a full set of teeth and golden hair. At six months it is snaggle-toothed and bald-headed. What is it?

Ear of corn



How many dead folk in the Bald Point Graveyard?

All of them


Four legs in the morning, two at noon, three in the evening. question mark

Baby crawling, young man walking, old man hobbling with a walkingstick

(This is the ancient Riddle of the Sphinx, also appearing in the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex).



Therein no window,
Wherein no door;
When inside comes out
Returns no more.

Egg (see egg riddle from Carter, above)



The Riddle Song

I gave my love a cherry that has no stones,
I gave my love a chicken that has no bones,
I gave my love a ring that has no end,
I gave my love a baby that's no cryen.

How can there be a cherry that has no stones?
How can there be a chicken that has no bones?
How can there be a ring that has no end?
How can there be a baby that's no cryen?

A cherry when it's blooming it has no stone,
A chicken when it's pippin it has no bones,
A ring when it's rolling it has no end,
A baby when it's sleeping there's no cryen.


Riddles in Folktales

Ashpet: An American Cinderella. Dir. Tom Davenport, 1990, and Davenport, Tom, and Gary Carden. From the Brothers Grimm: A Contemporary Retelling of American Folktales and Classic Stories. Fort Atkinson, WI: Highsmith, 1992.

A white fence with no gate, and when it's closed, it's dark as night. A pink pig with no mate; it opens wide when filled with fright.

Your teeth and your tongue.


Two hookers, two lookers, four standabouts and one switchabout. What is it?

a cow


Six men riding six horses through the apple orchard. Each man picked an apple. How many apples did they get?

One because one man was named Each Man.


Goes all through the field, goes all down through the woods, goes right up to your steps, but won't go in. What is it?

It's your pathway home.


Goes all over the pasture, all over the hill, comes way down the road, comes all the way up to the lot, and then, the next morning, it comes and gets up on your table? What is it?

milk from a cow


Donald Davis tale

You throw away the outside and cook the inside; then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What is it?

An ear of corn



"The Farmer's Daughter" riddles from the king

What is the fastest thing in the world?
What is the richest thing in creation?
What is the thing that I love the dearest?

The fastest thing in the world is the light of the old sun-ball. The richest thing in creation is the earth. The thing the king loves the dearest is to sleep.

Maud Long

Love I sit, Love I stand
Love I hold in my right hand.
I love Love, and Love loves me.
Guess this riddle and you may hang me.

Love is the speaker's collie.


"Jack and His Master"

Riddle to my left, riddle to my right,
Where did I stay last Friday night?
The wind did blow, my heart did ache
To see the hole in the ground that Fox did make.

A girl promises to meet her lover in the woods. She arrives before him and climbs a tree. the lover and another man arrive and begin to dig a grave, remarking about robbing and murder. The girl keeps silent until they are gone. She later traps the robber with the riddle.

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This page created 7/5/10   |   Site Index   |   Top of Page   |   Last update 7/12/10

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