Riddle – United States

“It was a Sunday in a mansion. There’s a family living in this big mansion, there’s a mom, a dad and three kids. Okay. The butler’s in the house. The maid’s in the house. The mail got delivered. The parents went out to the opera and came back and all the kids were dead. Who killed them?

The mailman because mail doesn’t get delivered on a Sunday.”

Alexa first heard the riddle at a softball retreat in Chicago in the tenth grade while doing community service with friends. She was cleaning up the campsite, taking away branches, leaves, and trash that should not be on the campsite. She and her friends were looking for ways to pass the time and her friend, Jared, started telling these riddles. She does not really know where the riddle is from but she believes that all riddles have some kind of truth behind them. She thinks that this might have happened in the 1900s, when someone showed up at a house who was not suppose to be there and murdered everyone. Alexa says that this riddle is pretty generic and it spreads quickly because it is often told in any circumstances where people are just waiting around. These riddles make people think a little bit and so, it helps get peoples’ minds off of thinking about the long amount time they have been waiting for something.

It clearly expresses the idea of violence, exhibiting the characteristics of a riddle. Riddles are often used to express ideas that are not polite or socially acceptable. No one takes riddles seriously, so it is okay to incorporate violence into them. They are taken lightly and no one thinks that the teller is being rude or creepy. I agree with Alexa when she says that the origins come from an actual murder. This could very well have happened and people could have taken the ideas of the murder and turned it into a riddle. It was probably not created right after the murder took place, but instead after the risible moment when humor about tragic events becomes acceptable. If it was made in the grace period, people would not have accepted the riddle and continued to share it with others because the topic was still too sensitive.