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You are going through the belongings of your recently deceased uncle and come upon a small wooden box with the following inscription, presumably describing its contents.

Those who take me, won't know me.
Those who know me, won't want me.
Those who want me, will make me.
Those who make me, will give me away.

You open the box to find it empty. What did your uncle--who was a scoundrel, by the way--keep in this box?

Update: While your uncle was an unsavory person, he was not a murderer.

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It was

Counterfeit money

Those who take me, won't know me.

Those who receive counterfeit money do not know that the money is actually counterfeit.

Those who know me, won't want me.

Those who know that the money is counterfeit will not accept it.

Those who want me, will make me.
Those who make me, will give me away.

Those are counterfeiters, like the infamous uncle.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That didn't take as long as I thought it would. Good job. $\endgroup$ – Mark H Nov 11 '14 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't match "Those who want me, will make me.", does it? Why would a counterfeit want false money? $\endgroup$ – BЈовић Nov 11 '14 at 12:35
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    $\begingroup$ @BЈовић They would want the false money to spend it as real money that's why they make it, otherwise they wouldn't make it right? $\endgroup$ – Sinan Samet Nov 11 '14 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ @SinanSamet That makes sense, until you read the previous line. Good riddle, but "Those who know me, won't want me" just doesn't belong. $\endgroup$ – Andreas Nov 12 '14 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ Sure it does--if you know it's counterfeit, you're not going to want to accept it as exchange for goods and services. $\endgroup$ – thumbtackthief Nov 12 '14 at 16:20
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Some kind of undetectable poison

With the reasoning being that if you ...

  • drink it, you wouldn't know
  • know what it is, you wouldn't want to take it yourself
  • want it, you would make it
  • make it, you'd give it to someone else
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  • $\begingroup$ Good answer, but not what I was thinking of (I actually realized this answer works after submitting). I've amended the question. $\endgroup$ – Mark H Nov 11 '14 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ I liked the riddle and the (accepted) answer, but without the amendment, I would have preferred this answer actually! I think the riddle would be perfect for this answer. (And I'm very tempted to used it one of my games if I can nicely place it into my narrative...) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Nov 25 '14 at 11:34
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Alternate answer:

Riddles

  • Those who take me, won't know me:

If you receive a riddle, you wont know it (the corresponding answer).

  • Those who know me, won't want me.

If you do know it, you don't want to receive the riddle anymore.

  • Those who want me, will make me.

People who like riddles, will make more of them

  • Those who make me, will give me away.

Those who make riddles, will give them to other people.

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just a wild guess, i think there is nothing in the box?

Those who take nothing, won't know nothing.

Those who know nothing, won't want nothing.

Those who want nothing, will make nothing.

Those who make nothing, will give nothing away.

i think that's why the box is empty?

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  • $\begingroup$ The first two lines don't really work this way... especially the second line (I think you have to know something to want something). $\endgroup$ – Brilliand Nov 12 '14 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Brilliand This a little bit late but here's my explanation: #1 "Those who take nothing, won't know nothing." - if they took nothing, they won't know nothing because at the end, the would knew that they took nothing.. that's why they will know something after taking nothing. #2 "Those who know nothing, won't want nothing." - you'll be wanting to learn something specially if you have not known anything right? so you wouldn't settle for nothing $\endgroup$ – Kelvin Barsana Jan 29 at 5:43
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A virus / Illness

Those who take me, won't know me.

Viruses can have an incubation period

Those who know me, won't want me.

Who DOES want an illness?

Those who want me, will make me.

Evil doers would create viruses to infect people

Those who make me, will give me away.

Evil doers would spread the virus but not themselves

Besides... The box was "empty", no? ;)

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If my uncle wasn't a scoundrel it could also have been

sadness

or something similar.

Box content in this case could be something that made him sad, e.g. pictures of a lost girlfriend. He still loves her but she either died or has left him because he is a scoundrel.

Those who take me, won't know me.

"take sadness" means to console or comfort the sad person, which supposedly makes the sadness go away (won't know me)

Those who know me, won't want me.

Who wants to be sad, right?

Those who want me, will make me.

If you want to make somebody sad, there usually is a way to cause sadness.

Those who make me, will give me away.

Same, you don't make yourself sad (on purpose) but if you make sadness, you do it to others.

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  • $\begingroup$ How do you keep that in a box? $\endgroup$ – bgmCoder Apr 8 '15 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ One option is a symbolical or metaphorical interpretation. Think "Pandora's Box", which contained all evil of the world and still contains hope. The other option would be as stated in the second hidden box: in the form of an item that causes or represents [my answer]. $\endgroup$ – user1252434 Apr 8 '15 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ The second answer doesn't really explain why the box is empty. You can easily understand why the counterfeit money wouldn't be in the box - it was spent! As for Pandora's Box, well, that's kind of a stretch, I think - a box can't contain evil except in a make-believe way because evil is the lack of good - and this is a moral quality, not a thing to store somewhere. And since the box is empty, it contains nothing that might give anybody hope. $\endgroup$ – bgmCoder Apr 8 '15 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. I hadn't considered the "empty" part, though in my example the photos could have simply been removed by someone else before I got the box. I did not intend to imply that this box would be Pandora's. Pandora's Box was just the obvious example for a (fictional) container for something immaterial. In this way it is similar to my answer - and it could even be described by a (different) riddle in a similar way. Yes, it is a bit of a stretch, but the answer to a riddle is often not too serious/realistic/literal anyway. $\endgroup$ – user1252434 Apr 8 '15 at 14:36
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All I can think of is some kind of

unpleasant drug... maybe something which makes people's memories hazy?

Those who take me, won't know me

makes people forget they've taken it

Those who know me, won't want me

If you know about it you won't take it!

Those who want me, will make me

Bad guys make it at home?

Those who make me, will give me away

Then give it to victims

I feel like I'm waaaay off course with this one!

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I Think it's a joint(Tobacco) used to smoke.

Those who take me, won't know me (While they are smoking, they don't understand it's harmfull effects on their body) Those who know me, won't want me. (One who understand those effect will try to avoid smoking) Those who want me, will make me. (One who wants to smoke will put effort to prepare it correctly, mixing all ingredients) Those who make me, will give me away. (One who makes it share it with his friends, thus giving "AWAY")

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Placebo

Not scoundrely enough...

Explanation:

Those who take me, won't know me: placebo is often used in control groups when evaluating new medicine and treatments. Test persons aren't supposed to know its not the real thing. They take sugar pills. Those who know me, won't want me: if you know what placebo is, and that something is placebo, the placebo effect will generally be smaller than otherwise. You're less enthusiastic if you know it's fake. Those who want me, will make me: researchers want the sugar pills, not the patients. Those who make me, will give me away: the point is to fool someone else, not to eat/inject it for yourself.

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