Sunday, February 11, 2007

On Riddles without Answers . . .

“The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, ‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’


‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles.– I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.


‘Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?’ said the March Hare.


‘Exactly so,’ said Alice.


‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on.


‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.’


‘Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. ‘You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!’


‘You might just as well say,’ added the March Hare, ‘that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!’


‘You might just as well say,’ added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, ‘that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!’


‘It is the same thing with you,’ said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn’t much.”


. . .


‘Have you guessed the riddle yet?’ the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.


‘No, I give it up,’ Alice replied: ‘what’s the answer?’


‘I haven’t the slightest idea,’ said the Hatter.


‘Nor I,’ said the March Hare.


Alice sighed wearily. ‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, ‘than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’”


(Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

1 comment:

Rita said...

there is an answer to the riddle