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"...bee of Peaceable and Civil Behaviour."

Riddles are little poems or phrases that pose a question that needs answering. Riddles frequently rhyme, but this is not a requirement.

 

Puzzle ID:#35310
Fun:*** (2.36)
Difficulty:*** (2.63)
Category:Riddle
Submitted By:OldChinaHand*****
Corrected By:_numpty_

 

 

 



A bell rung out,
a gong, a drumbeat,
or even a hunting horn sounded out its call.
A call for silence filled the air,
the words shouted,
of famine, war, feast, or taxation,
and all were protected by king, queen or country,
lest the messenger you kill.

Of what does this riddle speak?



Answer

Town Criers. The word "Oyez" mean "hear ye," which is a call for silence and attention. They carried a hand bell to attract people's attention, as they shouted the words. For the most part, the citizens of the towns or village, relied on the crier for the latest information, 'be it good or bad news'. Criers were not always men. Many Town Criers were women. Bells were not the only attention-getting device. In Holland, a gong was the instrument of choice for many, and in France they used a drum, or a hunting horn. In England the ruling monarch protected town criers; as they sometimes brought bad news, for example, tax increases. To injure or harm a Town Crier was seen as an act of treason against the ruling monarchy. This is how the term "don't shoot the messenger" came about.

A journal entry from 1715 notes that a: 'Belman at the Cross ... Reads publicly a proclamation in the Mayor's name, commanding all persons in the City to bee of peaceable and civil behaviour, not to walk around the Streets or Rows at unreasonable hours of night'.

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