I was inspired by one of Tolkien's famous riddles from The Hobbit,

No-legs lay on one-leg,
two-legs sat near on three-legs,
four-legs got some.

to create a new riddle:

One-leg took four-legs
to a place with no legs,
two-legs came later.

Explain what this is describing.

Edit. And here's a hint:

The one-leg my riddle is referring to can fly. It and its kind don't have wings, but they sometimes have arms.


Since the hint mentioned

the one-leg is something that can fly.

I thought it could be:

a rocket.

The four-legs refers to:

The dog Laika, the first animal in space.

then the place with no legs is

space, since you're weightless in space and so you effectively have no legs.

two-legs is then:

Humans, since we went to space later.

  • $\begingroup$ That's correct! What did I mean about one-legs sometimes having arms? $\endgroup$ – Big Black Box Jan 25 '16 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ @BigBlackBox I wasn't sure what you meant about 'arms'. Maybe the side-rockets that fall off when its launched. $\endgroup$ – Dennis_E Jan 25 '16 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ Haha, well I marked your answer as accepted anyway. Nice job! Think about the other meaning of "arms"... $\endgroup$ – Big Black Box Jan 25 '16 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget the monkeys $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell Jan 25 '16 at 15:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Arms" as in "weapons"? Rockets can carry many kinds of explosive (or fissile) ammunition $\endgroup$ – MathET Jan 26 '16 at 3:56

I think the answer is:


One-leg took four-legs to a place with no legs,

A single replicator eventually became 4 nucleotides (the building-blocks, or legs of nucleic acids such as DNA). And took this new replicator to the oceans (at the time, no life-forms there had any literal legs).

two-legs came later.

We evolved from all of that much later, and we have two legs.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice idea! I think conventional wisdom holds that life began in the ocean (although there are some competing theories), so your interpretation of the first clue needs some work, but it's a creative solution and not bad at all. It's not what I had in mind though, keep trying. If no one gets it I'll probably add a hint tomorrow. $\endgroup$ – Big Black Box Jan 24 '16 at 5:17

I think one-leg is


and four-legs is

the dog.

The place with no legs is

a park,

and the two-legs is

the dog owner.


the dog owner taking his/her dog for a walk to a park with its collar. The dog basically is brought by the collar and the owner comes after the dog.

  • $\begingroup$ Nope, that's not it. $\endgroup$ – Big Black Box Jan 24 '16 at 2:54

Since my previous answer was wrong, I'll have another go:

A hole, in golf.

One-leg took four-legs

The club (a single stem/leg) took four tries (legs, or sections of a journey) to get the ball...

to a place with no legs,

The hole.
A well-hit ball in golf is also sometimes referred to having legs - "That's got some legs".

two-legs came later.

The human player, having two legs, came along later to collect the ball.

  • $\begingroup$ No, that's not it sorry. Did you see the hint? $\endgroup$ – Big Black Box Jan 24 '16 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, hadn't seen that hint... back to the drawing board :D $\endgroup$ – jhabbott Jan 24 '16 at 18:11

My guesses are:

One-leg took four-legs

I guess: A Helicopter - assuming leg is figurative

As the first helicopter designs (Chinese Flying Top or Leonardo's Airscrew) had a single propeller while the first practical working model (early model Skiorosky VS-300s) had four propellers.

While the hint: Helicopters fly but have no wings but sometimes, like the pictured skiorosky below, they have two "arms" for carrying payloads, to help stabilize, and for other reasons. original Skiorosky vs300 from rotaryforum.com

to a place with no legs,

From the 1939 Skiorosky came the jet propelled aircraft of the 1940s which had no propellers or "legs".

two-legs came later.

Finally in the 1950s to just recently, Tilt-rotor aircraft (like the Marine's V-22 Osprey) have been developed and successfully flown.

  • $\begingroup$ No, that's not it. Also I'm curious which part of a helicopter you are thinking of as corresponding to the arms. Do you have a link to an image of such stabilization or payload-carrying attachments? $\endgroup$ – Big Black Box Jan 25 '16 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ @bigblackbox Added image showing arms $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell Jan 25 '16 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, thanks. Well, @Dennis_E got the right answer, and the arms were referring to something else... $\endgroup$ – Big Black Box Jan 25 '16 at 15:28

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