Posted by: Hyeonjin | November 21, 2014

More Carroll Madness

After our discussion on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the frustrations we had with the text, I had to pull out my own copy to find a section entitled “Puzzles from Wonderland” that had some frustrating yet entertaining riddles. We’re all aware that Carroll is very good with wordplay and riddles, so I thought it would be fun to share three with everyone, Carroll’s solutions included.

Riddle #1:
Dreaming of apples on a wall,
And dreaming often, dear,
I dreamed that, if I counted all,
—How many would appear?

Answer to #1:


Riddle #2:
What is most like a bee in May?
“Well, let me think: perhaps——” you say.
Bravo! You’re guessing well to-day!

Answer to #2:
‘Twixt “Perhaps” and “May be”
Little difference we see:
Let the question go round,
The answer is found.


Riddle #3:
Said the Moon to the Sun,
“Is the daylight begun?”
Said the Sun to the Moon,
“Not a minute too soon.”

“You’re a Full Moon,” said he.
She replied with a frown,
“Well! I never did see
So uncivil a clown!”
(Query. Why was the moon so angry?)

Answer to #3:
“In these degenerate days”, we oft hear said,
“Manners are lost and chivalry is dead!”
No wonder, since in high exalted spheres
The same degeneracy, in fact, appears.
The Moon, in social matters interfering,
Scolded the Sun, when early in appearing;
And the rude Sun, her gentle sex ignoring,
Called her a fool, thus her pretensions flooring.


Carroll, Lewis. “Puzzles From Wonderland.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2010. 733-36. Print.


  1. These are so crazy hard, but also crazy awesome. I found myself putting up my hand and trying to solve the riddles…but I couldn’t. Do you think Carroll even MEANT for them to be solved?

    • I think he definitely wanted them solved, otherwise he wouldn’t have given solutions. 🙂

      It’s really intriguing to me that he’s able to do all sorts of things with wordplay. He has a whole variety of writings that shows off this talent (perks of being a mathematician?). They’re pretty crazy at first glance, but when you keep staring at it, it’s brilliant.

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