Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/postcard/?comic=83
Recited from memory by: Leon Arnott
The author writes:
The riddle in panel 3 comes from an old story I was read as a child. The full riddle is "a red house with no doors, no windows, a chimney on top, and a beautiful star inside." And indeed, if you cut an apple in half along its width, the cross-section of the seed carpels forms a five-pointed star.
This, in fact, was used as a plot point in a children's book I read when I was a little older. The heroic girl has to defeat the witch by drawing a five-pointed star, but all of her fingers have just been cut off. So, she pulls an apple out of the mouth of a roast pig (which used to be her brother), grabs the meat cleaver with her stumps, slices the apple along its width, slathers the cut surface in her own blood, and presses it against the tablecloth... imprinting a red circle with a white star on the table. This, of course, causes the witch to burst into flames.
...It wasn't really a children's book, was it?