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Exeter Book Riddle 27 facts for kids

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Exeter Book Riddle 27 (according to the numbering of the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records) is one of the Old English riddles found in the later tenth-century Exeter Book. The riddle is almost universally solved as 'mead'.


As edited by Krapp and Dobbie in the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records series, Riddle 27 runs:

Ic eom weorð werum, wide funden,
brungen of bearwum ond of burghleoþum,
of denum ond of dunum. Dæges mec wægun
feþre on lifte, feredon mid liste
under hrofes hleo. Hæleð mec siþþan
baþedan in dydene. Nu ic eom bindere
ond swingere, sona weorpere;
esne to eorþan hwilum ealdne ceorl.
Sona þæt on findeð, se þe mec fehð ongean
ond wið mægenþisan minre genæsteð,
þæt he hrycge sceal hrusan secan,
gif he unrædes ær ne geswiceð;
strengo bistolen, strong on spræce,
mægene binumen, nah his modes geweald,
fota ne folma. Frige hwæt ic hatte,
ðe on eorðan swa esnas binde
dole æfter dyntum be dæges leohte.

I am valuable/useful to men, found widely, brought from groves and from mountain slopes, from valleys and from hills. By day, feathers carried me up high, took me skillfully under the shelter of a roof. A man then washed me in a container. Now I am a binder and a striker; I bring a slave to the ground, sometimes an old ceorl. Immediately he discovers, he who goes against me and contends against my strength, that he shall meet the ground with his back, unless he ceases from his folly early; deprived of his strength, loud of speech, his power bound, he has no control over his mind, his feet, or his hands. Ask what I am called, who thus binds slaves to the earth with blows, by the light of day.


  • Michael D. C. Drout, 'Riddle 27', performed from the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records edition (24 October 2007).
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