John’s Mom Riddle

Text: John’s mom has four kids: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. What was the name of the fourth? (Answer: John)

Context: I would tell this if one of my peers asked me to tell a riddle. I learned in like elementary school, maybe fourth grade. I’ve seen it on Instagram before. The hope would be that whoever you’re telling it to says Thursday, and you would say “Ha! You’re wrong.” I feel accomplished when I use it.

Analysis: This riddle is an example of a “joke” or “catch” riddle because it is like a practical joke that has an expected response. This riddle was popular with kids because it empowers kids to have knowledge over others in this area, since they don’t have the upper hand of knowledge in most other areas. This riddle also correlates with the “rule of three” in American and Western culture which explains how many ideas and entities in folklore come in groups of three. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday is a clean and matching group of three, and when John is added to make four, it seems illogical and unexpected.