Two Legs Sat Upon Three Legs

DESCRIPTION: Riddle: "Two legs sat upon three legs, With one leg in his lap; In comes four legs, And runs away with one leg; Up jumps two legs, Catches up three legs, Throws it after four legs, And makes him bring back one leg."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1600 (Booke of merry Riddles, according to the Opies)
KEYWORDS: riddle food animal dog
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Opie-Oxford2 302, "Two Legs Sat Upon Three Legs (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #709, p. 276, "(Two legs sat upon three legs)"
Dolby, p. 186, "Two Legs Sat Upon Three Legs" (1 text)

Roud #20142
NOTES [72 words]: The Opies note that describing characters by their number of legs goes all the way back to the Riddle of the Sphinx in the Theban legend. They also notef a faintly similar tag in a writing attributed, almost certainly falsely, to the Venerable Bede: "See, a biped on top of a triped sits; walks the biped; falls the triped." It is easy to see why people connect them, but I think the only actual link is the idea of counting legs. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.3
File: OO2302

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.