I sit stern on the rock while I'm raising the wind,
But the storm once abated I'm gentle and kind.
Kings sit at my feet who await but my nod
To kneel in the dust on the ground I have trod.
Though seen to the world, I am known to but few,
The Gentile detests me, I'm pork to the Jew.
I never have passed but one night in the dark
And that was with Noah alone in the Ark.
My weight is three pounds, my length is a mile,
And when once discovered, you'll say with a smile,
That my first and my last are the pride of the isle.
This riddle, supposedly written by the Bishop of Salisbury, dates back to 1849, where it was first published in a magazine, the publication of which has now been lost in the sands of time. It went for at least one hundred years before a satisfactory solution was offered to the enigma. Some of the early possible answers were “Air” and “The Letter K.” However, the most commonly accepted solution nowadays is “Raven.”
The raven croaks before a storm, which led to the belief in some ancient mythologies that the raven was the controller of it. Because of this, many civilizations worshipped the raven, explaining the kneeling of Kings. The raven was forbidden to the Jews as food (Lev 6:15) and it was the raven that was sent out by Noah to find dry land after the 40 days of flooding, leaving its mate alone in the Ark. There is a small South Carolina island named “Raven”, which is known to be a mile long. R and N (the “first” and “last”) stand for the Royal Navy, which are most certainly “the pride of the isle.”