# Old dragon returning - hide your children!

I'm ambiguous by nature as I grow tall after all
Your puny little earth shall tremble at my call
In small as in big, the extremes I will lead
My address is surely some superstition's seed

Abnormal my birth in a land of illusion so mortal
You touch the near ground of the specular portal
One long gone monster, not touchable for man
Nary a sinner may tame me as merely nothing can

A creature of prey hunting for your deceased
I shall turn it soft, into a sustaining feast
Imprisoned by tradition, tortured to the graves
Royal is my essence, my innards rule the waves

As the elders have foretold, the end is near
And with one difference you can only find hear
The keeper of time will choose 2 over infinity
You and me and the devil form a handsome trinity

Seriously, looking at the hint already? Shame on you! Hint: I never do typos!

Is this a who or what am I?

You really need those hints, don't you? I could tell you that each two lines describe one letter (but that would be telling).

• 2 over infinity - that must be zero! Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 22:28
• It's more than that ;) Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 23:16
• $\frac{2}{\infty}>0\implies 2>\infty$. A contradiction, $\infty$ being greater than all numbers. Therefore, the narrator of this puzzle is stark, raving mad. ($0\times\infty=\infty$ because an infinite amount of even a little thing must be infinite; nothing is a little thing, $0$ is nothing, so an infinite amount of $0$ (or $\infty \times 0$) must be infinite.) Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 23:26
• Is the misspelling of "here" on the third-last line intentional? (I would edit, but I'm not sure if it's supposed to be there...) Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 4:24
• @Deusovi It's mostly me poking fun at maths in an obscure way. Obviously, $0\times\infty$ is an undefined operation. Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 20:39

IMMORTAL.

The third and final hint tells us that

each pair of lines gives a single letter.

So let's get going!

I'm ambiguous by nature as I grow tall after all
Your puny little earth shall tremble at my call

"I'm ambiguous by nature" because "I" can refer to either the solution of the what-am-I riddle or the letter I, which here are one and the same. "I grow tall after all" ... well, I is certainly a tall letter! The second line sounds very egomaniacal; the speaker sounds like a me-me-me type who would often use the word I.

From OP:

Also "ambiguous" because a lowercase "L" looks like an uppercase (grown-up) "i".

In small as in big, the extremes I will lead
My address is surely some superstition's seed

(thanks to Al.Sal)

The letter M starts ("leads") the words min and max, which are two "extremes" and synonyms of "small" and "big". Its "address" in the alphabet is 13, which is the seed of many superstitions.

Abnormal my birth in a land of illusion so mortal
You touch the near ground of the specular portal

(that Avigrail does like his mirrors!)

By "touching the ground", a person would form a shape something like n. Doing it "near" a mirror ("specular portal"), we'd find this n reflected to become M. The first line also hints towards mirrors with "land of illusion", and the "birth" of this letter M was certainly "abnormal"!

One long gone monster, not touchable for man
Nary a sinner may tame me as merely nothing can

We need a letter that appears in MONSTER and NOTHING but not in MAN or SINNER. The only possibilities are O and T. Looking more closely, we notice that O appears in every word of the first line except "man" (hence it's "not touchable" for man) but not in any word of the second line except "nothing" (hence "merely nothing can tame me"). So the answer here is O.

A creature of prey hunting for your deceased
I shall turn it soft, into a sustaining feast

The first line sounds like some sort of sinister BEAST. Adding the letter R "shall turn it" into BREAST, which is soft (hey, don't blame me - it was Avigrail's dirty mind, not mine!) and is a sustaining feast for young creatures.

Imprisoned by tradition, tortured to the graves
Royal is my essence, my innards rule the waves

I suspect this may be a dig at the Brits (the OP is German) and their drinking of tea or T! Stereotypically, Brits are "imprisoned by tradition"; they have a "royal" family; and Britannia traditionally "rules the waves".

From OP:

"Tortured to the graves" as tea is dried out in the sun, cut into pieces and served with boiling water which could, if applied to a human, be seen as torture.

As the elders have foretold, the end is near
And with one difference you can only find hear

I got the answer to this but not the correct explanation. From OP:

"...the end is near and" if you just read on to the next line. "end" and "and" are very similar with only one difference we can also find in "hear" (but not in here).

The keeper of time will choose 2 over infinity
You and me and the devil form a handsome trinity

Very clever!

Infinity is a sideways 8 (as featured in another riddle recently), so let's say "2 over infinity" becomes $2/8$, which is a quarter. On "the keeper of the time" or a clock, this suggests a quarter of an hour, or 15 minutes. Something like a quarter past midnight or 15:00 hours gives us the letter L. As for the second line, "you and me" are the hands forming L while "the devil" must be the second hand (?), the three together forming a "handsome trinity".

• I can confirm the first "O", well done :) The others need some more improvement though. You are right we are looking for a letter within "hear" but it's not "H". Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 20:24
• @Avigrail check the edits... Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 23:46
• Not every couplet uses the same technique. The focus is on letters ofc but the way you've found O may not work for others. Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 8:08
• I came to the same word, but I can't explain, like, anything. Good luck, I'll help where I can. :P The second letter is a reference to max and min, as well as the index 13. A specular portal is a mirror, I think, and M is a symmetrical letter which touches the ground where the mirror would be. 'r' turns 'eagle' into 'regale', but that's pretty tenuous. 'I' grows tall since it's always capitalized by itself, perhaps? Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 15:11
• @BaileyM Yep, Al.Sal has already done the max/min/13 thing. Specular is definitely mirror, and Avi has a long history of using mirrors in riddles! I'd solved the first four before seeing your comment :-) Just the second half left to go! Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 15:18

I've an inkling based on two parts of the fourth paragraph:

The last line reminds me of an Emmylou Harris song with a line that goes "You and me and the devil make three." This was sung by the sirens in O Brother, Where Art Thou, which together with the deliberate typo "hear", plus bits like "the end is near" and "rule the waves", makes me think that this portion is making reference to the Sirens. Doesn't match with the rest, though.

• The number 3 is indeed a good conclusion ;) I personally know the line from a different song though. Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 15:20

Judging by the hint,

Every couplet is a letter. So we need 8 letters: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

For the first,

It's a vowel, and very few? no? words start with O or U that match the rest of the letters.

Based on the second pair,

Superstition's seed (13) is its address. M? Also, M leads min and max. Which implies there's gotta be a vowel up front. [Confirmed]

Building off of others,

From Rand, we get the 4th letter, O. And the letters in Hear that aren't H.

At the end,

Plurals. The you, me, and the devil is 3. Two to infinity, etc. It's an s.

[AEI] M _ O _ _ [AER] S with the caveat that either 1 is A or 7 is.

My hilariously, dumb, awful guess:

Ampoules

• Your explanations for the first and seventh letter are a bit loose and by the way, it's not A for both. However, I can confirm an M in second Position (note: extremes I lead are min/max) Good job! Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 8:11
• @Avigrail If I may ask, when you say both do you mean AND or OR? Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 8:32
• It could mean there's only one A and thus only one A of those in your attempt could be correct ;) Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 8:48
• How do you know the first letter is a vowel? No explanation for this; @Avigrail is it right? Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 11:16
• @randal'thor He does think that because of an M in second position. What about, for example, S as in "smaragd"? Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 12:52

Is this

Rand al'Thor?

Old dragon returning - hide your children!

Rand al'Thor is also called the 'Dragon Reborn'. Also, this question was posted around the same time as our own rand al'thor returned after a long absence.

I am not very well-versed with A Wheel Of Time, so I hope someone would help me make sense of the other clues. (Or correct me if this is just a shot in the dark.)

• Nice catch! @Rand al'Thor will love this! But just like you I'm not into wheel of time. So this is not the intended solution. Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 8:05
• I did indeed like this solution! Maybe @CodeNewbie is too new to realise that Avigrail is the dragon returning after an even longer absence :-O Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 9:26
• @randal'thor: I agree, I've been here a lot less than others. I've only seen Avigrail in the past couple of weeks. Only elders like you can introduce me to older stalwarts. :-P Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 9:53
• @CodeNewbie Does Avi need introduction? If his reputation doesn't precede him, his attitude makes him instantly recognisable! Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 23:08

Perhaps...

The moon (the sun might work too)

Old dragon returning - hide your children!

Hide them every night when the moon returns so they can sleep peacefully, also, this reminds me of a Doctor Who episode where the Moon turns out to be a giant 'dragon' egg

Royal is my essence, my innards rule the waves

I believe I once heard that the moon controls the waves with its gravity as the earth rotates

You and me and the devil form a handsome trinity

Me, on the ground, you in the sky, and the devil, underneath the ground in Hell

• You should be honored for not looking at the hints :) Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 16:54