I just saw an ad that posed this question (I’m changing it around to take out the weird racist overtones, because, in the original, I got distracted by the fact that, if there are five people with the “first” name Lee and they’re from China, that Lee is probably their patronymic and not some kooky thing those weird Chinese people might do.): Brent’s parents had five children whose name all start with “B.” Bernie, Blain, Barb, and Bruce are four of them. What’s the fifth child’s name?
Isn’t that stupid?
I mean, I know this is supposed to be a riddle on-par with “Thirty white horses upon a red hill. Chomping and stomping and then they stand still.” but if someone asked me that question, I think I’d pause not because I didn’t know but because I’d think he was a jackass who thought he was more clever than he actually was.
Does that even count as a riddle?
I don’t know. It just pissed me off.
B., I remember a riddle-game that used to be popular around the time I was in high school. It doesn’t work well in writing, but it went something like this:
Set-up: A bus leaves the station with five passengers.
At the first stop, one person gets on. At the next stop, two get on and one alights. At the next stop, four board the bus and on exits. At the next stop, six people board and two exit. At the last stop, two people board and five exit.
Pay-off: How many stops did the bus make?
The game works verbally as long as the one telling it remembers to count the stops. It is a simple matter of focusing on the purpose of the riddle while not exiting more passengers than you boarded. The point of the riddle-game is misdirection, of course.
The ‘riddle’ you describe sounds like it is designed for a much simpler mentality, if such a thing is possible. If the original version is as you describe, I’m not surprised by the dopey simplicity. It isn’t a riddle so much as a chance to trade in casual racist banter.