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The Wise Old Man - A Riddle

A self-proclaimed science enthusiast. Curious and inquisitive about our place in the universe. Writes occasionally after lots of thinking


That wise old man sits beside the path
Ageing with experienced sparkling eyes
As the years went by,
he became more worldly-wise.

He has travelled a lot, met a lot of people
He knows what the world is around.
But for you,
He is always sitting on the same spot
Looking out for the Wanderers around.

He likes to usher travellers
To help them reach in time
For they often know their destination
But scarcely path to climb.

Every pilgrim who sets out for the journey
Faces a crossroad at the start
Either he commences the journey entirely on his own
Or he asks the Old Man to let the path to be shown.

Alas, many travellers hit the road
Without even greeting the man
Unaware of what lays down the road
They think they have a plan.

Some get lost, some wound up in the middle.
far away from their destination
Some give up, some bear frustration
A few who reach their place, pay their price
A price not worthy of their sacrifice and gain
Time lost and suffered despair and pain

But the one who sits back and ask
has all the map worked out
That wanderer now knows his labour and knows his task
He knows all whereabouts and had the zeal
Obstacles came, he stumbled too, but he knew the drill
Knowing that he was on the right path, he didn't fumble
Remembering the wise man's teachings, he remained humble
Achieving his goals as if he knew every step, every aftermath.

The Traveller never forgot the Old man
He met him again and again
The Old Man kept helping him find the right turn.
While not expecting any gain or money in return.

The Wise Old man still sits beside the road
Waiting for you and me to trod
Holding in his eyes wisdom unbelievable
Let him be our mentor and friend to live a life incomparable.

Can You Guess?

Please make an informed guess before proceeding down for my interpretation of an answer to this riddle.
Let me clarify again; different persons can have various interpretations, which is completely fine. When I wrote this, I didn't think this riddle can be ambiguous and will have so many meanings. But as more and more of family and friends pointed it out, I realized that it's entirely the reader's choice and thought. So whatever your interpretation of answer is, I completely respect that.

Honorable Mentions

The following were some of the guesses my family and friends made as to who is this wise old man —

a) Time

b) Soul

c) A Tree

d) Life

e) Experience

f) Ancestors ( Father, Grandfather etc.)

g) Watch/ Clock

h) Wisdom/ Knowledge

i) Human Body

j) Kindness

k) Mr Narendra Modi, The Indian PM who travels a lot :)

l) Internet

m) Patience

Of course, all these guesses are right at their place but were not what I had in my mind when I was writing this.

And the Answer is.....


Yes! The Answer is Books.

Books and written literature are the collective wisdom of humanity.

From older religious texts to modern scientific journals.

From The ancient Indian Ayurveda healing to modern allopathic medicine.

From Biographies of humans born thousands of years ago to modern fiction.

Books have recorded it all. Our human civilization has learned from the past. The persons who are no longer alive have left an imprint through books. Some modern mediums like CD and Floppy have already became obsolete, but books will always remain, as they have for thousands of years

Let me know in the comments, What do you think about this riddle and who is your wise old man?

© 2020 Hritik Jain Bhimani

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