Appalachia Appalachian Writers

Its Not My Mountain Anymore: Riddles

Riddles in appalachia

Today I’m going to share a few riddles from It’s Not My Mountain Anymore written by Barbara Taylor Woodall:

  • What’s round as a saucer, deep as a cup, the Mississippi River can’t fill up?
  • What has a head, but cannot think?
  • What is round as a ball, sharp as an awl, lives in the summer dies in the fall?
  • Once it was green and growing, now it is dead and singing?
  • What goes to the water but cannot drink?
  • What has four stiff standers, four down hangers, two lookers, two crookers, and one switchabout?

I had heard the first 3 and the next to the last riddle before reading Barbara’s book. But who knows if I would have ever remembered them again if she hadn’t nudged my memory.

When I read the riddles in Barbara’s book, I immediately thought of how we used to ask each other riddles when I was a kid. Do kids still ask each other riddles? -I hope so. And I hope if you have a riddle from by gone days you’ll leave a comment and share it with me-oh and of course answer the riddles above if you can!


p.s. If you can’t wait to read the book yourself-click on any of the links above (title of book in orange or Barbara’s name in orange) to jump over and buy your own copy!


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  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    There are lots of things that have heads and can’t think. My first answer was beer. Another one of them is the answer for an adult joke.
    I know the answer to Stephen Ammon’s riddle is “nothing”.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I’m happy to report that my grandson’s 2nd grade teacher begins class each day with a riddle; perhaps not a lost art, after all.

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    What goes to the water but cannot drink? Well, well, I guess you’ve got me on that one too!

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Let me think! What has a head but cannot think? Me! also,
    Cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, river, lake, creek, branch, holler, table, hammer, mallet, honchos, argument, racquet, beer, toilet, bone, banjo, drum, guitar, fiddle, fern, digital recorder, compass, pointer, page, column, arrow, spear, engine, sail, steam, pimple, ship, department (are capable of thinking but rarely do)
    I’m sure there are more but I didn’t want to cheat and Google it. I will probably think of more tomorrow. Don’t know when I’ll get around to the other riddles.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    November 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Awe, dang it. I’ve heard these and the only one I can come up with , It has a head and can not think is a nail.
    What’s Black and white and red all over ? A newspaper

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    November 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I had not heard any of these riddles, but I just read Barbara’s book, so I won’t answer them now. There is a lot more good reading in Barbara’s book, though. I very much enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    November 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I will share one riddle with you.
    What is stronger than God ?
    More evil than satan
    Poor people have it
    Rich People want for it
    And if you eat it you will die.
    So what could it be ?

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    The first riddle, I think, describes a sieve. The rest of them have been well answered, I ‘spect. I also ‘spect you won’t leave us hanging for a month before you tell us what’s right?

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Like Miss Cindy, I’m afraid my education, when it came to riddles, was sorely lacking. In fact, the only one I recall was “What is black and white and red (read) all over?”
    Also, I’ll haunt you if you don’t share the answers. That’s a sneaky trick one your part, especially on which this pollcat (B. Ruth’s great play on sound) has a mighty bad case of post-election mollygrubs (the worst of my life, by far). Mind you, not supplying the answers probably guarantees that everyone will be back tomorrow in hopes of finding them.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    November 7, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I am over 60 years old, but I learned my favorite riddle from a children’s book just a few years ago:
    Why did the Cyclops close his school?
    Because he only had one pupil.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Ohhh, I made need to wait until my coffee break to think about more than the head one (that one is obvious – to a gardener any way).

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 9:41 am

    My mind is rusty…I like riddles, and it’s good to get thinking like this again! 🙂 That last one I know for sure…I have up close and personal encounters with a whole bunch of them every day!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    November 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Here is one for you:
    Older than Adam,
    if Adam were alive.
    four weeks old,
    but never five.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    November 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

    You have included one of my FAVORITE riddles! The answer to the last one is a cow! 🙂
    What has a head, but cannot think?
    A NAIL!
    Once it was green and growing, now it is dead and singing? A FIDDLE!
    What has four stiff standers, four down hangers, two lookers, two crookers, and one switchabout? A COW!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I don’t remember hearing any riddles when I was growing up. My children used to tell the knock-knock jokes but no riddles.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    November 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

    What is black and white and red all over? The newspaper

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

    this man father is my father’s son
    you would be THE SON’s ‘sister’
    J.A. IN ARK,

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Even though I’m unsure of the answers,I’ve heard all but the third one. Mama had a nearly endless supply of riddles and Mother Goose rhymes stored in her head. I believe she must have learned them from her mother. One ditty she recited as she bounced me on her knee wen::
    “Trotty horse trot down to the mill. See Grandpappy and Old Man Bill.” Another one said: “Dig taters, dig taters, dig. Look this way see nobody coming. Look that way see nobody coming. Pick em up and run. Pick em up and run.” The bouncing child would be turned in first one and then the other direction on the nobody coming lines then lifted up then down on the picking up lines.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 7, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Riddles have never been my strong point. I can think of an answer to #2 though

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    November 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I’m not real good at riddles, but I think the second one might be a hammer. Maybe the singing one is a dormant tree. Before I make a fool of myself; I will quit. One I remember more as an adult is – What is black and white and read all over?
    Happy riddling to all!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 7, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I don’t remember many riddles and,in fact, I don’t remember the answer to the one I do remember. My mother used to say this one
    ‘Brothers and sisters I have none, but this man’s father is my fathers son, who am I?’
    I hope you will give us the answers to the ones from the book.

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