In order to unlock the riddle quest in A Link to the Past, you must obtain at least 10 Medals of Courage in Four Swords on your particular game pak. Also note that to complete this side quest, you’ll need the Bug-Catching Net, Magic Powder, and Pegasus Boots. Once these requirements are fulfilled, go to the lumberjacks’ home in the northwest of Hyrule just outside the Lost Woods. Speak to the lumberjack inside, named Q. Bumpkin, and he’ll give you a series of 10 riddles, as well as a basket to take with you. To solve a riddle, you must find the object that he’s describing and catch it in your Bug-Cathing Net and bring it back to him. Solve 10 riddles to learn a new sword technique (more on that below). If a certain riddle stumps you, that’s what this guide is for!
“Cock-a-doodle-doo! What is it? Go find it and catch it with your bug-catching net!”
Our lumberjack starts you off with an easy riddle. It’s a Cucco! Go catch one in Kakariko Village and bring it back to him to move on.
“The scissors by the water… What is it?”
Answer: Sand Crab
These are most easily found on the east side of Lake Hylia, which you can access by walking along the south coast of the lake, then north from there.
“It’s shiny and red. What is it?”
Answer: 20 Rupees
The answer is a Red Rupee–easy to figure out, but harder to actually find (when you’re looking for one). Go to the swamp in south central Hyrule, enter the building (the Light World’s equivalent of the Swamp Palace in the Dark World), drain the water, and grab a fish outside. Take the fish one screen north and throw it into the water, and it will reward you with a Red Rupee that you can catch with your Net.
“It’s moist and fresh… What is it?”
Remember the above strategy for the 20 Rupees? Simply go to the same place to catch a fish flopping around the newly shallow water.
“BOOOM! Skitter-scatter… What is it?”
Think sound effects here. The answer is an octoballoon (alternatively called Red Puffer). Those are the bloated, floating enemies found south of Lake Hylia that explode into tiny enemies when Link comes on-screen. Catch one of these tiny enemies in your Net before they all vanish.
“Sprinkle and watch it wobble… What is it?”
This one’s tricky. The answer is an Octorok–after it’s sprinkled with Magic Powder, at which point it becomes a slime. Alternatively, you can sprinkle a Hermit Crab (enemy that hides under bushes and rocks) or even a knight. This one is wide open! Choose the enemy that’s most convenient for you.
“It munches on nuts… What is it?”
Another tricky question because the answer is not an obvious creature in the game. The place where you find squirrels is in the grove where you picked up the Master Sword (the real Master Sword, that is), in the very northwest of the Lost Woods. Quickly net a squirrel as it scurries past once you enter the area.
“Pull it out, but… too bad! What is it?”
Answer: Fake Master Sword
This one is close by both to the previous riddle and to Bumpkin’s home. Just go fetch one in the Lost Woods and bring it back. Easy.
“It’s red and sweet… What is it?”
These are of course found in many trees throughout Hyrule. But to save you an annoying search, simply go one screen south of the lumberjack house and ram into the lone tree in the southeastern part of the screen with Pegasus Boots. There are your apples!
“The spectacled wanderer… What is it?”
What makes this one tough is that if you start thinking of NPCs wearing glasses, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Similarly to riddle #6, this one requires use of the Magic Powder. Go find a green Buzzblob (alternatively called Shocker) near the witch’s hut just south of Zora’s Waterfall and sprinkle it with Magic Powder, turning it into a cukeman. See its spectacles? Now net it and return it to Q. Bumpkin to complete the riddle quest.
Congratulations! You’ve just mastered the riddle quest. In return, Q. Bumpkin will teach you a new sword technique not available in the Super NES version of this game, but will be available to you from now on in your GBA save file of both A Link to the Past and Four Swords. To execute your new sword attack, hold down the B button to charge your sword like for a normal spin attack, but then hold it longer, and you’ll soon get a new charge. Now release and repeatedly mash B as Link spins like a whirlwind all across the screen slashing whatever enemies and obstacles are in his way. Be careful, however, as this will drain your Magic Meter! In Four Swords, however, there is no Magic Meter to be mindful of–Link will simply stop the attack after a while.