I was the cause of great troubles,
yet, resting among leaves, I did nothing wrong.
After much waiting I was taken in hand,
passed from one to another.
Broken I moved beyond sharp barriers
and was cradled in wetness, mashed to pulp.
Soon I entered a dark tunnel
where bathed in acids I altered my being.
But what I entered I also altered,
bringing light where there had been darkness.
I brought strife where there had been peace,
pain where there had been comfort.
My journey ended in the place of corruption
but by then I had changed the world.
- George Benson, Poems on the Underground
This riddle had been puzzling me for weeks every time I saw it on my tube journeys; I would spend the entire tube journey thinking of possible answers. My girlfriend saw it once and got the answer before the end of the 15-minute journey. I’d like to think we solved it as a team (and hopefully preserve some shred of my dignity) but it’s up to you to judge.
The discussion went something like this:
JY: Look, riddle!
YH: Ya I’ve seen it a few times -- the best answer I can come up with is paper.
JY: … (brows furrowed) It’s obvious that it is food. Sharp barriers means teeth.
YH: That makes the dark tunnel the stomach! Stomach acids!
(Lots of discussion of how it made sense that the answer was something that was eaten)
YH: The answer should be a historical event, something momentous that happened once and it was because something was eaten.
JY: (without skipping a beat) The apple in the Bible?
So there you have it. The riddle that has been puzzling me for weeks solved in 15 minutes by my girlfriend, who found the answer ‘obvious’. Not since the Paris marathon when I was overtaken by three grannies in a row has my pride taken such a hit.