Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/80
|I saw the thing; its belly was at the back
hugely puffed out. A servant attended it,
a man of might. And much had it suffered
when that which filled it flew from its eye.
It does not always die when it has to give
what is in it to another. But there comes again
reward to its bosom. Its bloom returns.
It creates a son; it is its own father.
|Ic þa wihte geseah womb wæs on hindan ·|
þriþum aþrunten þegn folgade
mægenrofa man micel hæfde gefered
hit fleah þurh his eage
ne swylteð he symle þōn syllan sceal
innað þam oþrū ac him eft cymeð
bot in bosme blæd biþ aræred
he sunu wyrceð bið him sylfa fæder
The answer is Bellows, but the second meaning is unmistakable. The seventeenth-century play on the word “die” has thus a long history. 73 begins with an interesting, and innocent, parallel:
, . , ;