This section covers ballads, riddles, and stories not written in verse.


    Riddles in the Middle Ages were far different than those of today.  Riddles were an art, not mundane question-and-answer problems.  They were written in verse and were often several verses long, complex and difficult to figure out.  The most famous collection of riddles, perhaps, is in the Riddles of the Exeter Book, a collection of Anglo-Saxon riddles.  Below are links to some sites that archive medieval riddles.

bullet Texts and Translations - The Exeter Book Riddles
bullet Tales of the Middle Ages - Riddles

    Riddles in Redwall are similar to the riddles of the medieval times.  Redwall riddles are also written in verse, and can be fairly long.  However, the Redwall riddles sometimes use a method not seen in the medieval ones.  Jacques occasionally takes a word and mixes it up: "Am that is" being an anagram for "Matthias," for example, as well as sometimes including a word in the first letter of each line.  He's also been known to do a riddle such as "My first is in apple but not in pear," meaning the letter "L" and going down the line until an entire word is spelled out.


    Ballads were long, involved poems or songs that told a complex story.  Examples of these are Beowulf and the Canterbury Tales.  These ballads typically rhymed and generally kept to some sort of meter.

bullet The Complete Canterbury Tales (in Old English), by Chaucer


    Stories were generally recorded in verse form, but when translated, it's fairly clear that they aren't in verse, but merely a flowing form of prose.  An example is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:

bullet Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in Middle English) - first edited by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon, then later edited again by Norman Davis
bullet Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in modern English) - translated by Jessie L. Weston of the Camelot Project

Additional Resources

bullet Luminarium - An anthology of Middle English literature.  Excellent resource!