Riddles have an opening formula to signal the beginning of a riddling session or to prod an individual into a riddling session.
However, Amuka (1994:13) notes that grandmothers, guiding a riddling session, might also touch on matters considered as adult content in the presence of children for teaching/learning purposes.
Burns (1976:143-5) shows six occasions for riddling: riddling embedded in songs and narratives, in courting, in rituals like death and initiation, in educational encounters, riddling in leisure time and in greetings.
Chapter 5 draws helpfully on recent work in genre theory (especially Alistair Fowler's Kinds of Literature) to distinguish between riddle as a genre and a mode, to specify what defines each, and to relate both riddle as genre and riddling as mode to other kinds of literature.
The chapter on Wallace Stevens, perhaps a sort of coda to Cook's extensive scholarship on the poet who started her interest in enigma, moves quickly from varied examples of riddling in poetry to instances of the word "enigma" itself in his later work, where she finds it to be a master trope for his mature understanding of his own poetics.
Despite the giant's skill in disguising his crimes in riddling figures, the truth of his misdeeds remains abundantly clear.
But this is not the only biblical allusion in the riddling sequence.
The agonistic framework and barely concealed aggressiveness that we might expect to find in riddling contests are certainly evident in this text.
It is immediately understandable why the narratives discussed by Stein are characterized as "riddles": not only is the verbal contest between this king and queen overtly interrogative, and their intentions explicitly aggressive; the biblical text itself from which this Midrash derives likewise contains these and other features that one has come to expect from riddling narratives (cf.
From Under Mountains to Beyond Stars: The Process of Riddling
in Leofric's The Exeter Book and The Hobbit.