Jamaican riddles, like the proverbs, shows much of Jamaica’s history and the characteristics of the Jamaican people. Riddles are guessing games in which the riddle solver is given a clue and expected to guess the riddle. Riddles are therefore, basically a question and answer game.
A typical Jamaican riddle starts with the opening line:“riggle me dis, riggle me dat, guess me dis riggle and paraps not” or the less popular “riggle me riggle, John me riggle, guess me dis riggle and paraps not”.
A typical riddle goes like this: “Pam-par-am-pam wid a hole in de middle”, to which the answer is hammer. Another riddle goes like this: “one slice a negro yam sarb de whole worl” (a slice of yam serves the whole world), to which the answer is the moon.
Riddles play the same role now, as they did then. They often evoke laughter because of the unexpected or perceived responses they require.
List of Jamaican Riddles and Answers:
Riddle: A cow and a donkey are coming round the corner.They crash. Which one is wrong?
Answer: The cow, because he should have blown his horn.
Riddle: Hell a top, hell a bottom, hallelujah eena di miggle.
Answer: Potato or cornmeal pudding (pone), made in a traditional oven with coals on top and at the bottom
Riddle: Mi doan weigh anything but mi can sink di biggest ship.
Answer: A complaint
Riddle: Why is every river rich?
Answer: Because every river has two banks
Riddle: Sweet water tan (standing) up.
Answer: Sugar cane
Riddle: Prime Minister, doctor and Governor General which one wear di biggest hat?
Answer: The one with the biggest head.
Riddle: Di longer it tan (stay) di shorter it get.
Riddle: If three seven is twentyone, how much is seven trees?
Answer: A small woodland
Riddle: Green as grass, macka lacka.
Answer: Soursop (macca is the Jamaican equivalent to prickle/thorn)
Riddles: How much different corner from Morant Point to Negril Point?
Answer: Two : left corner and right corner.
Riddles: Whoofa (whose) bed always wet?
Riddle: Four foot siddung under four foot a wait fi four foot.
Answer: Cat sitting under a table, waiting for rat.
Riddle: Walking down di road mi see one green house, inside it was one white house and inside that one red house with plenty lickle (little) brown window. What is that?
Riddle: Yuh ever see cow head wid two yie (eyes)?
Answer: Yes, wid mi own two eyes (Yes, with my own two eyes).
Riddle: Missis Queen dress tear, but no needle kyaan sew it.
Answer: Banana or plantain leaf
Riddle: Four brothers went on a trip, two before and two behind. The two behind could never catch up with the two in front.
Answer: The wheels on the car
Riddle: Jig a room, jig a hall, stand up in a corner.
Riddle: Little Miss Mary tear her yellow dress and nobody kyaan (can) fix it.
Answer: Ripe banana
Riddle: Yuh never want it, but when yuh get it, yuh take such good care of it.
Answer: Sore foot
Riddle: What is the difference between a plantain and a tailor
Answer: The plantain must fit (mature) to cut (harvest) and the tailor must cut to fit.
Riddle: Mi madda have a pretty house, but is one stick hold it up
Riddle: Why did the donkey go over the mountain?
Answer: Because it can’t go under it
Riddle: Put mi on kimbo, teck mi off kimbo, wash mi kimbo same way.
Answer: Old time iron pot (jester pot)
Riddle: Mi grandfather have a rope eena (in) him yard and every day it grow longer.
Answer: Melon or pumpkin vine
Riddle: What deh front a woman and backa cow?
Answer: The Letter ‘W’
Riddle: What do trains and clothes have in common?
Answer: They both spend a lot of time on lines.
Riddle: One slice a yam serve di whole world.
Answer: The moon
Riddle: Round like a biscuit, busy like a bee.
Answer: A clock or watch
Riddle: Why do we have to go to bed?
Answer: Because the bed can’t come to us.
Riddle: Round di road di rugged rascal runs, how many ‘R’s are in that?
Answer: None, there are no ‘Rs’ in the word that.
Riddle: If 60 seconds makes one minute, 60 minutes makes one hour, 24 hours makes one day, seven days makes; how many seconds are in one month?
Answer: Two: second and twenty second
Riddle: Going to town or coming from town, mi face still turn to town.
Answer: Tree (a tree has no face)
Riddle: What always goes up, but never comes down?
Answer: Your age or smoke
Riddle: Which two letters of the alphabet are never sick?
Answer: O K
Riddle: King takes off him crown to only one man. Who?
Riddle: Why dawg kyaan stay eena one yard? (Why can’t a dog stay in one yard?)
Answer: Because three feet make one yard and a dawg (dog) has four feet.
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