Riddles are one of the oldest genres in folklore. We can trace them back to ancient Greece and Rome, but they have existed much longer than that. Dialogical form of question/description – answer, where the question is a challenge to the other person, seems to have been a popular since forever: either in the form of a true riddle, where metaphorical a description is given to provoke an answer, or a joking question, where an answer is not expected to the riddle, but the prime function is an amusement, even laughter, or written forms to guess the meaning of shapes, or thought provoking questions, which are mostly linked to testing knowledge in a witty way. There are many sub-genres of riddles, but this database includes mostly true riddles (witty metaphorical description of object or phenomena; intended to be guessed by reedlee), joking questions (where the prime function is an amusement, even laughter), questions of wisdom (questions which are connected to the knowledge of Bible) and logical riddles (questions linked to math and logic). All of them are taken from the archive of the Slovenian Institute of Ethnology ZRC SAZU. The archive nowadays consists of ca. 2500 units (1413 different types of riddles), which were collected from interviewees, newspapers, fieldwork (Štrekelj collection, Orel team, student fieldwork etc.). The riddles are written in the Slovenian language (some in dialect) and have seven categorisation units: question, answer, archival reference (ŠŽ = Štrekelj collection; UnS = collection of riddles, unpublished manuscript), collector (proper name if it was given in the material), location of collection, date of collection and sub-genre (true riddle, joking question, wisdom question, wisdom joking question, logical riddle). Location and date of collection were only with the riddles where it was given, though there unfortunately weren’t many.

The material is mostly historical and not in use anymore. Only some books or children's magazines bring it to the surface from time to time. Nevertheless, we have a great opportunity to bring digitised material and show, maybe even revive some of them.



Angleček 1899, 1903, 1887

Besednik 1869, 1870, 1871

Cvetje 1852

Goriški Kras

Goriški letnik 1864

Koledarček Mohorske družbe 1861, 1862

Letopis Matice Slovenske 1882-83

Mohorjev koledar 1880, 1881

Novice 1843, 1844, 1845, 1847, 1854

Prijatelj III, 1854

Slavjan 1874

Slovenska bčela III (1852), IV (1853)

Slovenski glasnik 1861, 1858

Nanos 1862

Šolski prijatel 1854

Vedež 1848

Vrtec 1877, 1872, 1888


Bibaugiba, 1996

Koroške uganke 1933 (1946)

Slovenske uganke 1965


Štrekljeva zbirka

Uganke na Slovenskem