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Rdelsa in re deorcnesse:

Riddles from The Hobbit translated into Old English


Introduction
My primary intention with these translations was to showcase how closely Tolkien's riddles
from The Hobbit resemble the Anglo-Saxon riddles of the Exeter Book. hile ! took some efforts to
em"late the syntax and #ocab"lary which was "sed in the Exeter riddles, ! mainly tried to gi#e as literal
of a translation as possible$ operating "nder the s"spicion that Tolkien had specifically shaped his
riddles to the Anglo-saxon riddle forms and traditions% ! fo"nd that the final prod"ct really did resemble
the style and str"ct"re of the Exeter riddles& this sho"ld not be seen as "se of excessi#e interpretation or
creati#ity on my end$ b"t a proof of how Tolkien was deeply embedded into the Anglo-saxon tradition
when he wrote these delightf"l riddles%
! also directly '"oted the answers from the text of The Hobbit. This allowed me to showcase the
"ni'"e character #oices$ partic"larly (oll"m's% (oll"m speaks in modern english with hissing repitition
and st"nted syntax% ! tried to gi#e his #ocab"lary as m"ch of this '"ality as possible) notice the
repitition of h and so"nds. *is tendency to red"ntantly pl"rali+e has been approximated with repeated
case endings%
I. Gollum:
hat has roots as nobody sees$ *w,t h,f- wyrt-tr"man swa nan mote seo
.
$
!s taller than trees$ lengra -onne beamas b/on$
0p$ "p it goes$ *it g,1 "ppe$ "ppe$
And yet ne#er grows2 ond gyt n,fre weaxe2
[Mountain, I suppose. [Beor!, "e ince#.
II. Bilbo:
Thirty white horses on a red hill$ 3r4ti5 hw4tra horsa w6ron on beorge r/ad"m$
7irst they champ$ ,rest h4e b4ta-
8
$
Then they stamp$ -onne h4e -y1
9
$
Then they stand still% -onne h4e ,tstanda-%
[Teeth$ Teeth$ M% preciousss& [Te$Te$ Min deor'ur###
:
&
but 'e onl% has six$ ac 'it
;
(nne h()
<
siex$
III. Gollum:
=oiceless it cries$ *leo-orleas hit clipa1$
ingless fl"tters$ fi-erleas fleoge1$
Toothless bites$ t>-leas bite-$
Mo"thless m"tters% t"ngeleas
?
cl"ma1%
[*ind, 'ind o) course. [*ind, 'ind huru.
. S"b@"ncti#e$ hypothetical Anone might seeB
8 Cite$ closest e'"i#alent to champ
9 9rd pers$ sing$ pres$ indic form of +%'an, which means Ato cr"shB
: Adeorw"r1eB D nominali+ed and drawn o"t final consonant to sim"late (oll"m's speech
; E"al pronon form& (oll"m referring to himself as AweB is likely in reference to two entities rather than more%
< 9rd person sing% 7orm% Awe hasB
? Hleoorleas, t,leas, and tun!eleas are all compo"nds which ! in#ented% A-leasB is a common s"ffix$ meaning
Awitho"tB%
IV. Bilbo:
An eye in a bl"e face Eage in bl,wen"m andwlitan
Saw an eye in a green face% (eseah eage in gr/n"m andwlitan%
FThat eye is like to this eyeF A3,t eage is gelic -is eageB
Said the first eye$ Gw,- -,t eage forme$
FC"t in low place$ AC"ton in ni-erweard stede
H
Iot in high place%F AIalles in heahstede%B
[-un on the daisies it "eans, it does [-unnan on " d(!es./a!u"
J
hit "n, hit d/
V. Gollum:
!t cannot be seen$ cannot be felt$ Ie con hit bi- gesewen$ ne con bi- gefeled$
Gannot be heard$ cannot be smelt% Ie con bi- gehyred$ ne con bi- gest"ncen%
!t lies behind stars and "nder hills$ Ce,ftan t"ngel ond "nder beorgas hit leg-$
And empty holes it fills% Ond sea-as ,mettige hit fyle-%
!t comes first and follows after$ *it cym1 ,rest ond folga- ,fter$
Ends life$ kills la"ghter% Enda- lif$ cwel- hleahtor%
[0ark$ [0eorcnes$
VI. Bilbo:
A box witho"t hinges$ key$ or lid$ Cox h,f1 nohw,1er heorras$ ne c,gan$ ne hlid$
Ket golden treas"re inside is hid% (iet madm gylden is bewrigen inne%
[E!!ses$ E!!ses it is$ [1!ruru
.L
$ 1!ruru hit is$
H AC"t in a downwards placeB
J Miterally Aday's eyesB& con#eys a deep connection between the two Aeyes of the dayB$ the s"n and the daisies
.L 7rom A65r"B$ nom% Nl"ral form of 65& red"ndant A-r"B for effect
VII. Gollum:
Ali#e witho"t breath$ *it
..
cwic is b"ton or"1$
As cold as death& Swa ceald swa d/a-&
Ie#er thirsty$ e#er drinking$ I,fre -"rstig$ ealneg drincende$
All in mail ne#er clinking% !n byrnan gegearwod
.8
$ n,fre dyniende%
[It is )ish$ [Hit is )isc$
VIII. Bilbo:
Io-legs lay on one-leg$ I,nig-scancan legde on an-scancan$
Two-legs sat near on three-legs$ Twa-scancan neah s,t on -reo-scanc"m$
7o"r-legs got some% 7eower-scancan begeat d6l
.9
%
[2ish on a little table, "an at table [2isc on beode l3telu", "ann (t beode
sittin! on a stool, the cat has the bones on st,le sittende, se catt 4 b4n h()
IX. Gollum:
This thing all things de#o"rs) 3,t -ing forswelg1 ealle -ing)
Cirds$ beasts$ trees$ flowers& 7"glas$ d/or$ b/amas$ blostma&
(naws iron$ bites steel& Gywe- 4sen$ b4tt st4ele&
(rinds hard stones to meal& (rin- hearde stOnas into gr/ote
.:
&
Slays king$ r"ins town$ Slieh- cyning$ ford/- ceastre$
And beats high mo"ntain down% Ond high beorg gefyle-
.;
%
[Ti"e$ Ti"e$ [Tid$ Tid$
.. S"b@ect is implied in modern english% OE sentence is easier to translate with a stated nominati#e% !n this way$ it also
more closely resembles Exeter Riddles
.8 A!n chainmail adornedB
.9 Afo"r-legs got a partB
.: A(rinds hard stones into gritPsandPearthB D closest approximation to original intent
.; A7ellB "sed to replace Abeats downB
X. Bilbo:
Ahat ha#e ! got in my pocket
.<
2B A*w,t do ic h,bbe in pohhan minn"m2B
[5ot )air$ 5ot )air$It isn6t )air, [ 5a riht$ 5a riht$ 5a riht hit is,
"% precious, is it, to ask us 'hat "in deor'ur###, is hit, t, 4scienne unc h'(t
it6s !ot in its nasst% little pocketses7 hit h() in his l3telu" pohhu"u" unsss%)reu"7
.?

.< Glassic example of neck.riddle archetype
.? Modified form of Apohh"m "nsyfre"mB$ to em"late (oll"m-speech