# You are gonna need some coffee to crack this little nugget of a riddle!

I'm a physical thing. Can you guess what I am?

A prison of sorts, with light but no breeze,
These passive sea creatures contain I with ease.
Their very own home is used to transform,
To shrivel, protect, infuse, and deform.

Imprisoning children is even more foul,
Plucked from their mothers they can't even howl.
Scalded on purpose, they lie in a sack,
To be beaten, abused, till they finally crack.

If you think you are fun, then you guys better hide,
They'll find you, cut you, and lock you inside.
You'll change to the core while you languish within,
But granting you freedom is a much greater sin.

For once they release the inmates I hold,
Abhorrent and ghastly events will unfold.
They'll struggle to open my rusty old door,
I'll try to protect you, that's what I'm for.

But none can withstand these insatiable beasts,
They've kept you alive for their terrible feasts.
They'll prod you with pitchforks until you comply,
Too tired to struggle, you're ready to die.

One at a time, sometimes all at once,
Sometimes it takes days, sometimes even months.
But sooner or later I'll be empty again,
Even your tears they'll dump in the drain.

Hint #1:

This prison only opens at the right moment.

Hint #2:

If you are like me (as in me the human author, not me the thing you are trying to guess), then you may get a sweet and sticky label in order to elicit help.

Super hint #3 (don't look unless totally stuck):

Don't be misled by the dark tone, the answer is jarringly innocent.

Pickling and especially a jar of pickles

The transformations happen to

a cucumber or other pickled item.

The sea creatures

perhaps to make you think of salt, or pickled herring. Or sea cucumbers, which are a creature despite the name.

The second stanza refers to

eggs, as mentioned in the old answer

The "find you and cut you"

refers to eating pickles

while "change to the core" is

the pickling process and fermentation

And a fun guy

Refers to fungi, pickled mushrooms

The abhorrent and ghastly I got nothing, but struggle to open is

getting the lid off a jar at first

eating pickles that have been preserved for the purpose

And the final stanza

to using up the jar over a long period of time and then pouring away the remaining juice.

Hint 1

Many pickles need a while - my own pickled beans I wait 6 weeks to open. Also, in more of a confirmation than a hint, the "moment of inertia" could be relevant when turning the lid to open the jar

Hint 2

No idea, perhaps there's a popular US brand name in there

Hint 3

the word "jar" is the key here

I believe it's a

refrigerator

It contains things, including sea creatures I suppose. The list of transformations described: "shrivel, protect, infuse, and deform" I've seen.

And of course a fridge has a light inside

The second stanza I believe refers to

eggs, which are kept in the fridge

I believe the third and fourth stanzas refers to

The safety precautions for discarded fridges so that children don't hide in them and suffocate

The fifth stanza refers to

Keeping food (for feasts, that you eat with forks) in a fridge

and finally

They do get empty, and even get replaced. Any liquid that accumulates in the bottom gets dumped

I can't actually connect the hints to this though.

Kate got almost everything anyway, but here are the full answers from OP:

You are gonna need some coffee to crack this little nugget of a riddle!


This is a programming reference. Java is used to open files of type .jar (which stands from Java ARchive), which are sort of like nuggets containing a bunch of things.

A prison of sorts, with light but no breeze,
These passive sea creatures contain I with ease.
Their very own home is used to transform,
To shrivel, protect, infuse, and deform.


A jar is transparent, but air-tight. One of the most commonly pickled things are cucumbers, which are also one of the most numerous sea animals in the world. Their home - salt water - is what's typically used to pickle things.

Imprisoning children is even more foul,
Plucked from their mothers they can't even howl.
Scalded on purpose, they lie in a sack,
To be beaten, abused, till they finally crack.


The entire stanza is about pickled eggs. There are some punny hints here like "foul vs fowl" and "plucked". Eggs are children, they get boiled (scalded), and then lie around in their shell waiting for us to crack them and clean the shell off.

If you think you are fun, then you guys better hide,
They'll find you, cut you, and lock you inside.
You'll change to the core while you languish within,
But granting you freedom is a much greater sin.


Mushrooms are also commonly sealed in jars, the play on words here is "fun guy vs fungi". Mushrooms hide in the forest, and people go looking for them, cut them, and put them in jars. Pickling changes the mushrooms just like everything else.

For once they release the inmates I hold,
Abhorrent and ghastly events will unfold.
They'll struggle to open my rusty old door,
I'll try to protect you, that's what I'm for.


Once the jar is open, the contents get eaten. Opening jars is notoriously hard, which actually ties into the second hint. And the point of the jar is to preserve and protect the contents.

But none can withstand these insatiable beasts,
They've kept you alive for their terrible feasts.
They'll prod you with pitchforks until you comply,
Too tired to struggle, you're ready to die.


We are hungry and we want some pickles! Which we'll fish out of the jar with a fork. If often takes a few tries, too, you keep stabbing the slippery bastard and he keeps rolling out of the way.

One at a time, sometimes all at once,
Sometimes it takes days, sometimes even months.
But sooner or later I'll be empty again,
Even your tears they'll dump in the drain.


Finishing off a jar can take anywhere from a single sitting to months, but eventually it's empty except for the brine left behind. Which is salty like tears, and is shed by the pickle as you remove it from the jar.

Hint 1:


Moment means not only a small chunk of time, but also a force used to create rotational movement. When we open jars, we apply certain moment to the lid, which won't budge until the moment is high enough.

Hint 2:


How many of you have heard "Honey! Can you open this jar?"?

Hint 3:


Of course the give-away here is "jarringly".

• My wife had the same guess when I showed her the riddle! :D But no, that's not it. Although you are in the right ballpark. And you are right about the second stanza. I'll throw in a hint. Once opened, the prison will only lose inmates until it is completely empty. Only then may more be added. Hint #3 is disguised as not very helpful, but in reality reveals the answer.
– Egor
Feb 7 '16 at 1:53
• ok, with that tip i now think i have it Feb 7 '16 at 2:10
• Good work! You have the right answer, although some of the lines aren't quite there. Including the first two hints. The very first hint is actually kind of a jerk hint, because he misleads more than helps unless you spot the wordplay. The last word isn't used in the sense you think, it's just making a show of force to spin you around (hint hint). Perhaps you need to get more physical?
– Egor
Feb 7 '16 at 3:05
• Oh, and regarding the first stanza. The last word of your current answer, what was he called before he went to prison? That's the one you are looking for. And what's in the prison that changes him? Ties into tears at the end. You also still have the third stanza to figure out. What kind of a "fun guy" could be an inmate? Try saying it fast ;)
– Egor
Feb 7 '16 at 3:08
• #Fungi, but what? Feb 7 '16 at 15:08

My Guess:

An Egg

A prison of sorts, with light but no breeze,

Eggs are partially see through with a bright enough light. Its called candling and is used to check on the development in an egg (see if it was fertilized).

These passive sea creatures contain I with ease.

The hen's actual egg could be considered the passive sea creatures (especially if not fertilized) contained behind the outer shell

Their very own home is used to transform, To shrivel, protect, infuse, and deform.

If the egg is fertilized it will transform into a baby chick - if not it will spoil and rot without breaking the shell.....unless a build up of gasses causes it to explode.

Imprisoning children is even more foul, Plucked from their mothers they can't even howl.

Eggs could be considered the child of a hen (at least they are if fertilized) and can't howl as they are still in their shell.

Scalded on purpose, they lie in a sack, To be beaten, abused, till they finally crack.

Pasteurization is a common practice with eggs (which involves a hot water or bath) and broken eggs are a common sight when looking for that perfect dozen at the market.

If you think you are fun, then you guys better hide, They'll find you, cut you, and lock you inside.

I think this is referring to the fact that sperm would lose their tails (cut you) during fertilization (the fun) and are then trapped or combined with the egg.

You'll change to the core while you languish within, But granting you freedom is a much greater sin.

Basically as soon as fertilization happens the zygote forms and continues to grow into a baby chick. If a sperm fails to fertilize (freedom) it will, basically, just die where it lands.

For once they release the inmates I hold, Abhorrent and ghastly events will unfold. They'll struggle to open my rusty old door, I'll try to protect you, that's what I'm for.

This is the farmer opening the chicken coup and collecting the eggs

But none can withstand these insatiable beasts, They've kept you alive for their terrible feasts.

Mmmm...Breakfast

They'll prod you with pitchforks until you comply, Too tired to struggle, you're ready to die.

I assume a fork = pitchforks and, well...breakfast :)

One at a time, sometimes all at once, Sometimes it takes days, sometimes even months.

Depends on how hungry a person is and what they are used for. As in scrambled eggs for breakfast will be quick and only use a few eggs, a full wedding cake would use a number of eggs but beginning spoiling in a week or so, while an egg used to make a meatloaf to be used in a packaged "TV Dinner" is a single egg but could last a while.

But sooner or later I'll be empty again, Even your tears they'll dump in the drain.

You crack the tear shaped eggs and dump them into whatever your cooking

Hint #1:

This prison only opens at the right moment = Eggs only hatch when chick is formed and ready, person is ready to cook, or when it is spoiled to the point that it forces it to crack.

Hint #2:

If you are like me, then you may get a sweet and sticky label in order to elicit help. = I know at least they use sticky labels to show expiration dates

Super hint #3:

Don't be misled by the dark tone, the answer is jarringly innocent = Both baby chicks are innocent, and soft, and chicken eggs can be pickled and jarred.

• Good guess! There are definitely eggs in this riddle, but the overall answers I'm afraid is not it.
– Egor
Feb 8 '16 at 17:16

I might be way off the track, but my closest guess is:

it's an oyster shell.

It is a prison for

the mollusk (sea creature) it contains.

What doesn't make sense to me is that talk about "their home" being used to transform (them ?). Imprisoning children could be the result of

men eating the oyster content.

They can't even howl because

they don't even have a nervous system.

"Scalded on purpose" doesn't make sense to me as well, because

AFAIK oyster are eaten raw.

Beaten/abused/crack could describe

the act of opening the oyster.

"Lying in a sack" probably means

they are in the stomach already. "You" seems to address the mollusk, warning them before men who wanna eat them.

"Freedom is sin", "protection" seems to indicate that

the mollusk is nothing without its shell.

"Open Rusty old door" also means

cracking the oyster.

"Terrible feasts" also means eating. "Tears in the drain":

I've read that some fluid remains after eating an oyster, and that it gets disposed of.

On the other hand, your hints don't make any sense to me at all...

• Unfortunately, no. You are right though that the object in the riddle is addressing its occupant(s), and on some other points as well. Each stanza contains some play on words related to the occupant, which are of different nature.
– Egor
Feb 6 '16 at 21:20