You are trapped in a locked room in a castle, around which there is a deep moat. All the windows to the room are barred. The door is made from 6 inch thick oak. In the fireplace there burns a hearty fire. The room is decorated with red velvet drapes, each tied with a gold cord. On the table are three wine glasses, one of which contains a quantity of sediment. Upon the floor is an ornate oriental rug. There is a half-full decanter of brandy and a corkscrew on the dresser. There is also an ornate gold rope leading up to a bell concealed in the ceiling. How do you escape?

Really, I like to think I’d remain calm and just wait until someone came to get me. I mean, if someone’s set me up in such lavish surroundings, they aren’t going to do anything too bad to me, right?

So my first step would be to put my feet up and enjoy the wine.

I’d drink the ones without sediment first, out of fear of poison, then I’d hopefully be tipsy enough to confidently deny the possibility and down the third.

Then I’d be drunk. (Or dead).

And I’d probably need a wee.

The two would combine to make me more likely to contemplate escape. Or fall asleep and think about it in the morning.

So I’d piss on the ornate oriental rug and use the damp carpet to starve the fire of oxygen and put it out. This would leave me free to climb up the chimney. The place sounds pretty airtight, so if there wasn’t a reasonably sized chimney I’d have died of smoke inhalation by this point.

I imagine climbing chimneys to be a lot more difficult that I’d expect. So I’d get really pissed off when I realised I’d forgotten the moat and the steep walls.

It would almost certainly be time for a brandy.

I might try ringing the bell a bit too. Bells make a pretty cool noise; and it might get the attention of someone helpful, you never know.

Back in the room, I’d take the gold ropes and the velvet curtains and either create a makeshift rope or an ornate jerry rigged parachute, depending on how drunk I was by then.

And then no doubt plunge to my death in one way or the other.

Or possibly, I’d think this all through and go back to my original plan of holding tight until my nemesis reveals his nefarious plan.

Or whatever.

And there”s another reason for holding tight. Just imagine some fat monarch walks in to talk with you about saving the world from some arch overlord to find that you’ve drunk his wine, pissed on his carpet and torn down his drapes.

It’s not exactly good manners, is it.

And are there really doors that are six feet thick? Because I can’t even imagine how you put a hinge on that.

These things always end in dreadful puns (‘throw one cigarette overboard and make the boat a cigarette lighter’), or tricks whereby you assume the existence of something not mentioned in the ‘riddle’ (like my chimney).

Riddles are funny things, because they aren’t really intended as proper questions. They are mostly attempts to prove the questioner’s intelligence. They are more like unfunny jokes than anything else.

But they still provoke a satisfaction, perhaps a satisfaction more like that created by a joke than anything else. It’s that release of tension. The ability to go ‘oh, of course’ and feel like you’re brain’s been stretched a little.

And they’re certainly one way to while away time spent locked in a castle.

—-

Illustration by Lucy.

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About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Questions by Chris. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to You are trapped in a locked room in a castle, around which there is a deep moat. All the windows to the room are barred. The door is made from 6 inch thick oak. In the fireplace there burns a hearty fire. The room is decorated with red velvet drapes, each tied with a gold cord. On the table are three wine glasses, one of which contains a quantity of sediment. Upon the floor is an ornate oriental rug. There is a half-full decanter of brandy and a corkscrew on the dresser. There is also an ornate gold rope leading up to a bell concealed in the ceiling. How do you escape?

  1. Richard Hock says:

    Six inches! Not six feet!

  2. Pingback: Duck and Rabbit » Blog Archive » 24/03/2010

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