What are the missing words, but most importantly, what is "it"?

They couldn't sit down 'till they got it out of town

To send it back was nice,
But who'd have bet the odds,
They'd send it back with mice,


There are two missing words that complete the rhyme and syllable count.


The riddle is in reference to an event described in an old famous book.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "And lots of men named Todd." Solved! ;) $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2021 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RewanDemontay Lol It would have to be "Todds" for that to work. Good effort though. ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Hawkeye
    Jan 28, 2021 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


The rhyme is completed with:

GOLDEN EMERODS - while these words may seem unusual, they are the exact words used in the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible to describe the events of 1 Samuel 6...

What is 'it'?

It's the Ark of the Covenant.

The full context:

At the end of 1 Samuel 4, the Philistines invade Israel and steal the Ark of the Covenant, taking it back home with them to their lands. However, they are then afflicted by a number of punishments and plagues, most notably in 1 Samuel 5v6 where it says, "The hand of the Lord... smote them with emerods."

What are 'emerods'? Well, we know them better today as hemorrhoids! So the Philistines were afflicted with a plague of piles - explaining why in this rhyme they couldn't sit down! How to get rid of them? They had to take the Ark back to Israel - i.e. get it out of town.

But they didn't just send it straight back. After seeking advice from their priests, the Philistine leaders were advised to send the Ark back to Israel accompanied by some statues (or 'images') of mice and emerods made out of gold, as by doing so they believed they could cast out the things that plagued them. (They made five of each, as there were five Philistine leaders - as per 1 Samuel 6v4.)

The tone of this poem reflects the bewilderment that surely must have been felt by the Israelites upon finding their precious Ark returned... along with some golden mice and emerods! To send it back was nice but... what were those guys thinking with these other things?!

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Excellent description, and I love the detail you put in the full context. $\endgroup$
    – Hawkeye
    Jan 28, 2021 at 10:12

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