Contest: Old English Riddles for the Modern World


Date: Mon 28 Jul 2014

Well, here it is folks: the riddle you’ve all been waiting for! Get reading, and then email me (, send The Riddle Ages facebook group a message or tweet @TheRiddleAges with your solution.


Ic eom wunderlicu wiht,      geworht in fyrwylme.

Hwilum ic eom hat     ond hwilum cald.

Stille ond swige     ic stande, hwonne cald,

heah on hylle,     hlifiende ofer minum londe.

5     Hwonne hat, ic acwece,     hrere ond sceace,

ic hwine ond geblawe,     gebolgen mid yrre.

Stundum ic stande      stille eft ond blinne.

Gif mid lafum beama     geblanden bið min wombhord,

ic bringe wynne werigum,     wreccum sib,

10     ic unbinde freorige bendas.     Frige hwæt ic hatte.


I am a wondrous creature, fashioned in fire.

Sometimes I am hot and sometimes I am cold.

When cold, I stand still and silent,

high on a hill, towering over my realm.

5     When hot, I move about, shiver and shake,

I hiss and spit, swollen with rage.

At times I stop and stand still again.

If my contents combine with the leavings of trees,

I bring joy to the weary, peace to the wretched,

10     I unbind icy bonds. Find out what I am called.