Riddles from Cumberland County (1963)

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Wed Apr 6 06:33:39 UTC 2005

Summer 1963, Keystone Folklore Quarterly (Quarterly Journal of the Pennsylvania Folklore Society), vol. VIII, no. 2
Pages 59-74:
Riddles from Cumberland County'
by Mac E. Barrick
Like many folklore collection, this is not strictly "Cumberland County." I just like the selection here of classic American riddles.
Pg. 60:
What is green with yellow spots, ten legs and a long red tail?
--I don't know.
--I don't know either, but there's one on your neck.
(Carlisle, 1951)
What stands on four legs?
--A chair.
Mrs. Bertha Gutshall, c. 1905.
What has two heads and one body?
J. Russell Barrick, before 1910.
What stands on one foot and has its heart in its head?
Mrs. Ella Barrick, n.d. (I'll just list the ones with dates--ed.)
Pg. 61:
What has two backbones and a thousand ribs?
--Railroad track.
What goes out with four feet and comes in with eight?
--Cat with a mouse.
What has eyes and can't see?
Mrs. Bertha Gutshall, before 1905.
What has eyes and cannot see, and has a head and cannot hear?
--Potatoes and cabbage.
J. Russell Barrick, before 1910.
What has ears and can't hear?
Albert Gutshall, 1900-1905.
What has a tongue and can't talk?
Mrs. Bertha Gutshall, 1903-1905.
What has teeth and can't eat?
What has four eyes and can't see?
Pg. 62:
What eats and eats and never gets full?
--Threshing machine.
Mrs. Bertha Gutshall, before 1910.
What has four legs, one head and one foot, can't walk and can't talk?
What has three feet and can't walk?
Pg. 64:
What wears a coat all winter and pants in the summer?
J. Russell Barrick, before 1910.
What grows with its roots up?
--An icicle.
Pg. 65:
What's black and white and red all over?
--A newspaper.
Common before 1900.
What's black and white and red all over?
--A sun-burned Zebra.
Pg. 66:
What goes up the chimney down but won't come down the chimney up?
J. Russell Barrick, c. 1905.
The more you take away, the bigger it gets.
What is it that if you cut it at either end, it gets longer?
--A ditch.
J. Russell Barrick, before 1910.
A fellow was in jail and they told him if he told a riddle they couldn't answer, they'd let him go, so he said:
Brothers and sister have I none,
But this man's father was my father's son.
--The man was his son.
It's not my sister, not my brother,
But still the child of my father and mother.
Pg. 67:
How many sides has a jug?
--Two: inside and outside.
J. Russell Barrick, 1905-1910.
Pg. 69:
What's the longest word in the English language?
--Smiles. There's a mile between the first and last letter.
MEB, before 1951.
Pg. 70:
How do you tell the weight of a fish?
--Look at his scales.
C. K. Snyder, c. 1944.
How do you get down off an elephant?
--You don't. You get down off geese.
What kind of flowers do your lips represent?
What's worse than finding a worm in an apple?
--Finding half a worm.
Mrs. Ella Barrick, before 1910.
What's the difference between an old penny and a new dime?
--Nine cents.
What's the difference between one yard and two yards?
--A fence.
MEB, before 1950.
Pg. 71:
What building has the most stories?
--The Library.
MEB, 1942-46.
Which is faster, heat or cold?
--Heat, anybody can catch cold.
MEB, c. 1940.
What's the first thing a farmer plants in his field?
--His foot.
What comes after cheese?
James R. Barrick, before 1918.
What time is it when the clock strikes thirteen?
--Time to get the clock fixed.
Bertha Gutshall, before 1910.
When is a door not a door?
--When it's ajar.
If you wake up at night thirsty, what do you do?
--Life up the mattress and drink out of the spring.
Where were the first doughnuts fried?
--In grease.
Mrs. Ella Barrick, c. 1905.
Where did they first put holes in doughnuts?
--In the center.
Which side of a dog has the most hair?
--The outside.
J. Russell Barrick, before 1910.
Pg. 72:
Why is the nose in the middle of the face?
--Because it's the scenter.
MEB, before 1946.
Why does the chicken cross the road?
--To get to the other side.
Common before 1910.
What's the reason chickens don't lay eggs at night?
--They're all roosters.
Why do firemen wear red suspenders?
--To keep their pants up.
Common before 1950.
Why does Uncle Sam wear red-white-and-blue suspenders?
--To keep his pants up.
J. Russell Barrick, c. 1942.
What made the lobster blush?
--He spied the salad dressing.
MEB, c. 1948.
Pg. 73:
Did you ever see a horse fly?
--A horsefly.
Did you ever see a board walk?
--A board-walk.
Mrs. Ella Barrick, before 1920.
Did you ever see a milk man?
--A milk-man.
Did you ever see a paper boy?
--A paperboy.
MEB, before 1946.
Tom and Dick and Pinch-Me went out in a boat. Tom and Dick fell out. WHo was left?
--WHen someone answers "Pinch-Me," the riddler pinches him.
Mrs. Ruth Heishman, before 1940.
Can you stick out your tongue and touch your ear?
--Stick out tongue and touch ear with finger.
Mrs. Ella Barrick, before 1942.
Pg. 74:
If the wind is blowing toward a maple tree at ten miles an hour, which side of the tree will the acorns fall on?
--Acorns don't grow on maple trees.
Pete and Repeat were out in a boat. Pete fell out. WHo was left?
--When someone answers "Repeat," the riddler repeats the riddle.
Lester King, c. 1942.
(I'll research these in another post--ed.)

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