The passage reads as follows: " 'Why is a raven like a writing desk?' In the part containing the question, she is at a "tea" party with two characters who seem to be at least under the influence of alcohol, if not many other mind-altering substances. He is very often referred to as the Mad Hatter, though this term was never used by Carroll. I have just added to the number.David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia. Out of the many complex questions that have been raised throughout the history of the human race, there is one that overshadows all the rest and makes them run with their tails between the little question-legs back into the great pool from which they were spawned. It has been recommended to those who truly want to know and can't figure it out from the apocryphal text, to chain themselves to a rock for 40 days and 34 nights. This has lead scientists and scholars alike to classify this question as a "level orange" on the great "Scientific and Scholarly Chart of Strange Questions". For example, the untrue claim that Iraq had so-called weapons of mass destruction. But inevitably you get a few losers who say: Well, OK, but I still want to know why a raven is like a writing desk. Lewis Carroll himself got bugged about this so much that he was moved to write the following in the preface to the 1896 edition of his book: Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz: ‘Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!’ This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all. and makes the question of "Can we trust our perception?" But the real answer, to which the careers of Poe and Carroll bear ample testimony, is that you can baffle the billions with both. The Mad Hatter admitted as much. (Puzzle maven Sam Loyd, 1914), Because there is a B in both and an N in neither. She then reflected on all her adventures that day, and how absurd they had been. Postscript: In 1976 Carroll admirer Denis Crutch pointed out that in the 1896 preface quoted above, the author had originally written: “It is nevar put with the wrong end in front.” Nevar of course is raven spelled backward. Mister Madder,' said Alice politely, 'I would be oh so grateful.'. The Hatter is a fictional character in Lewis Carroll's 1865 book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass. ', 'Yes, please. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. What’s the purpose of premarital blood testing? "', As the Madder erupted into a fit of laughter, Alice erupted with a fit of anger and said, 'But you never told me the answer! Many people continue to not understand the question even after this addition was published. It’s a joke! Imagine how busy they’d be if Donald Trump ever became president.Terence Rowell, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, • “Do you think you might be mistaken, my dear?”Roger Seal, Spalding, UK, Signalling emotion: two down (disapproval); two up (surprise); one up (disbelief).Victoria Castiglione, Denmark, Western Australia, • Enchanting the opposite sex, à la Groucho Marx.R M Fransson, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, US, • Presumably different things as we age, since women’s dwindle and men’s get shaggier.Annie March, West Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, • A raised eyebrow can be more eloquent than a dropped jaw.Harvey Mitchell, Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia, • To remind the rest of us why we are the hoi polloi.Philip Bool, Winslow, Victoria, Australia, At what point does the thrill of the new replace the comfort of the old?R De Braganza, Kilifi, Kenya, Which classical English novelist did most for the advancement of women?Edward Black, Sydney, Australia, Send answers to [email protected] or Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK, The Mad Hatter’s riddle; improper words and human conflict; supercilious strategies, Scene from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865. “No, I give it up,” Alice replied. It is believed that should a person ever find out the answer to the question, Mr. Carrol will return from wherever he went and congratulate them and sign over a large factory to them like in the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory except without the molestation. Got your answer now? Alice sighed wearily. ". 'It couldn't be because a raven could be written on,' said Alice, 'although perhaps a scalpel could be used to do so. ", and other such tripe. Because it bodes ill for owed bills. An Historical Perspective, –- Francis Huxley, The Raven and the Writing Desk (1976) Because one has flapping fits and the other has fitting flaps. How none of what she had seen that day made any sense whatsoever. Aldous Huxley, 1928), Because it slopes with a flap. You will also find that a lot of people have tried with spectacular lack of success to say funny or intelligent things about it. The Hatter and the March Hare are referred to as "both mad" by the Cheshire Cat, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the sixth chapter titled "Pig and Pepper". Carroll's answer to why a raven is like a writing desk? Particularly if its name is Lewis Carroll.Jennifer Rathbone, Toronto, Canada, • The answer lies in the quill: both may be penned, but they can never truly be captive.Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia, • Ravens and writing desks are both highly intelligent, found in a wide range of habitats, will eat almost anything and like playing tricks on humans.Stephen Saunders, Canberra, Australia, • Because outstanding bills are found on both of them.David Tucker, Halle, Germany, • Because in French all the letters in bureau are contained in corbeau.Gillian Shenfield, Sydney, Australia, • The Mad Hatter didn’t know, but perhaps The Raven came into Edgar Allan Poe’s mind while he was sitting at his writing desk.Joan Dawson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, • They have quills in common – and black, if the desk is crafted from ebony. Believing they were on to something, a plethora of new answers were formed. In 2008 a mysterious version of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" appeared that appeared to have far more content in it that the original. Some experts believe that a fragmented passage on the Rosetta Stone which begins "Why is a rav..." before being cut off by ages of deterioration, may have originally stated the question. Alice was unable to answer the riddle because there was no answer. No. That’s why we employ diplomats. While she's here the delusional Hatter, after drinking enough of the special "tea" that he probably thought Alice was a nematode or something, asks Alice the question "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" This riddle is famous, although it’s the rarefied kind of fame that entails most people never having heard of it. One sighs wearily. ", "Because the universe is equally absurd. ', 'As a MADDER of fact I do!' Carrol immediately responded to these concerns by disappearing off the face of the Earth. Is there really a hilarious answer to this seemingly impossible riddle? After reading this question and finding no answer, millions of people sent angry letters to Carrol demanding an explanation. After remembering this, she understood the answer. This great question, which many have sought the answer to over countless millenia, is "Why is a raven like a writing desk? newsletter. But if you ask a little kid, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?