The Hung Man (Riddle)

My informant is Natalie. Natalie is a 19-year-old female student at USC. She is half-Mexican, half-white, speaks fluent Spanish and English and grew up in San Diego.


Natalie: “There was a man who was found dead in a room. He had hung himself from the ceiling but all that was in the room was the rope, the dead man, and a puddle of water on the floor. How did the man kill himself?”

I don’t know, how?

Natalie: “The answer is that the men used a block of ice to reach the ceiling and tie the noose and when the ice melted he was left hanging there to die”

Where did you hear this riddle?

Natalie: “I heard this one on a field trip. We were hiking and the guide knew a bunch but that’s just one of the ones I remember”

Does this riddle mean anything to you?

Natalie: “It’s just a riddle I guess it just reminds me of that trip”


When dealing with riddles as folklore, we are dealing with a form that most would never consider folklore and do not pay attention to it being a performance that they are sharing. Riddles are especially good for folklore as well because the language can change so much but in the end the answer has to be the same. However, with riddles it is also precision of language that is sometimes most important for the riddle to make sense. In this case it was just a riddle that you had to think about to solve. It was just a fun one to get your mind thinking and to Natalie it is just a regular riddle however one that reminds her of the past like so much other folklore does.