Sunday, December 28, 2008

Riddle Contest Winner!

I greatly enjoyed reading the responses of riddle ideas! It was particularly fun to read extensive explanations and confessions of using an Anglo-Saxon dictionary online to try a first-hand translation for clues.

Overall, there were four people who submitted solutions, and ten solutions overall (Moriah, you get full credit for the most solutions submitted!) but only one could be the winner.

The solution that I found most adequate in answering the riddle and most beautifully expressed also happened to be very close to the official answer, so that made for a pleasant coincidence. The official answer is the Vehicle of the Cross. The winning answer, submitted by Ms. Suzanne Brennan, is an oak tree.

Suzanne's explanation develops the connection between her answer and the canonical answer. Here is the bulk of what she wrote (edited only slightly):

It's talking about the oak tree. They are majestic, beset by gloriously colored flame-leaves in fall, that are sacrificed among the wind but wrapped in pigmented splendor. Storm assembled.. they gather together after a storm/they are arranged in no particular order among the arms of the tree, but messily placed and easily detached. Perishable, they may go up in actual flames, flower in a cool groove with blossoms, or remain as the last evidence of a warm fire.

Now it gets more metaphorical: oak trees often grow together, have long lives, become like companions in their wise old age. The oak trees are personified and become more than just companions [...] what I gather is that the suggestions of "mercy" and "blessedness" refer back to the importance of trees in Anglo-Saxon society [...] It seems that they held trees, especially a "tree of life" reference in high regard. So we get: trees are integral to society, and this is a union of Christian love, majestic like the oak, and giving. The companion nature of their love. Now, "send me after hand" - is their a piece carved from their wood? a cross? that husband and wife kiss? I think this because it is a tradition in the Roman Catholic church to bend down/kneel before a plain wooden cross and kiss it, every year on Good Friday. To acknowledge the Sacrifice. I can't think of an awesome way to resolve this, just that it is talking about a tree - love of companions - love of Christians - the Ultimate Love.

Well done Suzanne! Please email me a reliable post location where I can send your prize.

Thanks again to all the entrants! Once I get fully marinated in Latin, perhaps we can do something similar with a riddle or aphorism.

No comments: