Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/20
|In those first days my father and mother
left me for dead: there was no life yet,
no life within me. Then a kindly kinswoman
faithfully covered me with her own clothing,
held me and cherished, kept me warmly,
even as gently as her own children—
until beneath her, as my destiny willed,
I waxed into life with my alien fellows.
My friend and protector nourished me then
till I grew and grew able to go forth by myself.
Because of this now her own dear children,
sons and daughters, were fewer, alas.
|Mec on þissum dagū deadne |
fæder modor ne wæs me feorh þa gen
ealdor in innan þa ongon
welhold me gewedum
heold freoþode hleosceorpe wrah
swa hire agen bearn
oþþæt ic under sceate · swa min gesceapu wæron
ungesibbum wearð eacen gæste
mec seo friþemæg fedde siþþan
oþþæt ic aweox widdor meahte
siþas asettan heo hæfde swæsra þy læs
suna dohtra þy heo swa dyde
Cuckoo certainly. The pleasure is not so much in guessing—we are not asked to guess—as in following the double meanings.