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."
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)
NOTES: 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
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