Riddle: Shadow

Main Piece: “What follows you everywhere when you’re walking, sleeping, flying, jumping, falling….um…but stays still when you’re not moving? That part I kind of made up. [Pause]. The answer is: shadow. And that’s it.”

Background Information: River, a nine year old boy, heard this riddle from his friends Ruby and Sky in Idaho. His friends told him the riddle when they were hanging out together. When I asked him what he enjoyed about the riddle, he said he didn’t think it was funny, but he did think it was challenging.

Performance Context: River sat across from me at his dining room table. He was relaxed telling me this riddle and focused on his telling of the riddle.

My Thoughts: I, personally, appreciated this riddle as it is tricky with a satisfying answer. River told this riddle well- he paused in the appropriate place of the riddle, expecting an answer from the recipient (me). River is in 4th grade, so there is often time to tell stories to friends at recess, lunch, etc. According to River, riddles are commonly told on the playground. It’s almost as if the teller sits atop of the hierarchy of the playground, with the wisdom and power of the answer. River seems to only tell riddles to friends he trusts. Since he admits he’s not good at keeping secrets, he wouldn’t tell the riddle to anyone who might use it against him (i.e. someone who might claim ownership of the riddle). The riddle is pretty general- its answer doesn’t only appeal to a certain group or have any quips that are specific to one context. It’s broadness allows for inclusive understanding.