Some Burmese Riddle Verses

Translated by U Wi
White without being washed —
the fairy shawl.
Full without being filled
the fairy water pot. [a]
All wrapped in spotted gown,
the kettledrummer
grasps with his feet
and eats with his mouth.
Good people all,
please solve it ! [b]
No foot on earth; but not a swallow.
Nursed in the lap; but not a babe.
Bearded; but not an Indian wallah.
Curly-tailed; but not an ape.
Mellifluous; but no prima donna. [c]
The fairy house-post
no insect can bore.
When it is bored at all
there is only one hole. [d]
His brain’s not acute,
his learning is small;
but when men dispute,
he takes seat before all.
If justice is done,
he lets well alone;
but if things go wrong,
he sticks out his tongue.
A golden monk,
a one-tusker,
a Shan hat,
a Chinese saddle,
a parakeet,
it is all in one!
What is this? [f]
Four oars row hard.
Her ladyship
sits under the canopy, [g]
In among the reeds and rushes
a little canoe pushes. [h]
The mighty drum will roar;
the dark face pour
its tears; the dead
will live; the hid
will come to light. [i]
A cup of cow’s milk
floods the whole country. [j]
Black-robed and short-naped,
this lonely anchorite
lives in a cell.
He prays all the time
and drinks wine, [k]

(Answers on last page of text)