# Explanation for the "I am whole but incomplete..." riddle?

I saw a riddle:

I am whole but incomplete,
I have no eyes, yet I see.
You can see, and see right through me.
My largest part is one fourth of what I once was.
What am I?

A skeleton

but I don't understand it. How does it "see"? How is its largest part one fourth of what it once was?

I am whole but incomplete

This means a skeleton is whole considering it as a structure. But it is just a part of the body. So it's incomplete.

I have no eyes, yet I see.
You can see, and see right through me.

This means skeletons don't have eyes - just the holes. By yet I can 'see' it refers to the 'see' in the word 's'k'e'l'e'ton. The same is meant by 'you can see', and 'see right through me'. Which makes it clear that we can see the word 'see' in (right through) 'skeleton'.

(Or as mentioned in the comments: people perceive a skeleton to "see" through its eye sockets, even though it no longer has eyes. And people can see through the gaps in a skeleton.)

My largest part is one fourth of what I once was.

The largest part of a skeleton is the femur, which is one fourth of the body (which the skeleton once was) in length.

Hope it's clear now.

• The "see" thing seems like a bit of a stretch. I still don't understand the "one fourth" part. 1/4 by mass? I find that hard to believe. Dec 1, 2014 at 10:09
• @jamesdlin: It's not 1/4 by mass. But by length. Dec 1, 2014 at 10:18
• The femur, or thigh bone, is the longest and heaviest bone in the body. Its length varies from one fourth to one third of that of the body; Dec 1, 2014 at 10:23
• also, you can see through a skeleton because there are gaps eg between the ribs Dec 1, 2014 at 13:08
• @KateGregory that's what i thought as well. Dec 1, 2014 at 13:47