Vietnamese Riddles

Vietnamese Riddles

My first: two verticals
My second: two horizontals
My third: 12 soldiers information
My whole is loved by the village.
What is it? The harrow

I am planted
In the very centre of the house
If by chance someone touches me
I burst into tears.
What is it? The watermill

I have a long body but no feet
A head, a beak but no wing
If someone brings rice
I peck indefinitely
But always without eating a grain.
What is it? The rice pounder

No river, but a floating bridge
No forest, but birds
Who sing all day long,
No internal organs, however a heart
No altar, but a seat to sit on.
What is it? The weaving-loom

I’m standing motionless
In the very centre of the house
Anyone may enter
Without my asking his name
And leave, without my greeting him.
What is it? The house column

Vietnam Riddles
Vietnam Riddles

My rounded body
With a long and trailing tail
I’m everywhere
In the countryside as in the town
In the market as in the house.
What is it? Coconut

My green house encloses
Mung beans
Green onions
With well-fattened pigs
In the centre
What is it? The banh chung (Rice cake steamed, stuffed with beans, green onions, lard, eaten at Tet).

White inside
Green on the outside
Two cloves in the centre
And open at both ends.
What is it? The betel quid

As large as a worm
The whole village every day
Comes to draw at will
But it remains inexhaustible.
What is it? The well

My heart is full of bitterness
Sitting, standing or lying down
All my uncles in the village
Never stop pampering me
My absence causes them suffering
Although pungent I inspire to many.
An uncommon passion,
What is it? The water-pipe (of the paysant)

Born in a bamboo thicket
I close up in winter
To open when summer returns.’
What is it? The fan


It sits in the best place
At home
It rests timidly
In a corner of the verandah.
What is it? The conical hat

Formerly white as ivory
I have become grey-black
Because of our young man,
I have really told him off
But he often beats me hard
And yet… he sleeps with me.
What is it? The mat

These two young girls
Each has a room
In the morning they open
Wide their window,
But night closes the shutters
And pricks the road of sharpened bamboos.
What is it? The eyes

This plant has five branches
Soaked in water it wrinkles
But keeps its freshness
When well looked after.
What is it? The hand

Equipped with two swords, eight lances
Clothed in brown
He waits hesitantly
At the entrance to his hole.
What is it? The crab

Because of you I must hit myself
Because of me I must hit
Both of us.
What is it? The mosquito (One hits the mosquito resting on part of the body)

Tiny little sister
I have, however, on me
A shining lamp
All the children search for me
To keep me in a jar.
What is it? The glowworm

A dragon’s head
The tail of a phoenix
It carries eggs in winter
Which open in summer.
What is it? An areca palm

White flesh
Pink skin
I sneak into the ground
To reproduce.
When the ground is fertile
I give birth by the dozen
My children are thin
When the ground is poor,
What is it? The peanut

The head is cut off
For no reason
Then put into the ground
Then revived
It produces a cluster of children.
What is it? The sweet potato

Plant without branches
It carries at its sides
Only two youngsters
Who amuse themselves swaying.
What is it? Maize

Leaves fall by the million
From this tree a thousand truong in height
We can cook them
But not grill them.
What is it? Rain

Still a child I carry two horns
In middle life
My face is like a flower
After twenty years
I’m already in decline
But after thirty years
Two new horns grow.
What is it? The moon

Only as large as a cover,
It plunges suddenly into the sea
But though you search for it well
It can never be found.
What is it? The sun