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"Change eleven to nine, without removing any sticks."
— The golden-eyed giant

The eleven sticks riddle was the first riddle the golden-eyed giant presented to Lief, Barda, and Jasmine.[1]


The Lake of Tears[]

Eleven sticks

The eleven sticks as they appeared in the books.

When the companions tried to enter into the sorceress Thaegan's territory on their way to the Lake of Tears, they were blocked by a golden-eyed giant who guarded a bridge. The giant said they could cross provided they each answered a riddle correctly. If they answered incorrectly, the giant would kill them.[1]


The sticks after Jasmine solved the riddle.

Jasmine was the first to be challenged. The giant presented her with eleven sticks and told her to make them into nine without removing any. Jasmine solved the riddle by arranging the sticks into the word nine.[1]


The anime version of the riddle is fundamentally the same. However, Jasmine is given five sticks and told to make them into three without removing any. She solves this by arranging the sticks into the symbol for three (3).

Riddle 1 unsolved (anime)

The five sticks from the anime.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rodda, EmilyThe Lake of Tears. Scholastic Australia. 2001.
Riddle 1 solved (anime)

The anime sticks Jasmine solved the riddle.