Threads of seven colors are stretched on the great prairie.What is it? It runs through the valleys clapping its hands."Rainbow" and "butterfly" are the answers to these two Native American riddles, typically drawn from the world of nature.Long hidden from view, the American Indian riddling tradition is revealed in all its variety in this carefully researched collection -- the first of its kind -- presenting 140 riddles translated from twenty different languages, including Aztec, Comanche, Maya, Onondaga, Pawnee, and Quechua.Here are examples of courtship riddling, hunter's riddling, dream-guessing, life-or-death riddling, and story riddling. In his introductory essay, editor John Bierhorst shows how such "games" are linked to the life and customs of the people who originated them. He also offers pointers to help non-Indian guessers come up with the right answers.With sweeping strokes and deft touches of humor, Louise Brierley's illustrations capture the spirit of mystery and inventiveness characteristic of this most unusual, most unexpected of Native American traditions.