How come stories

-have you ever heard of them?

I was absolutely thrilled when I heard the first one. I was 13, and it was the one about Romeo and Juliet laying dead on the floor. Living with some Australians for a year, I found that they had the same stories that we have in Norway, and I know a lot of them are known in the USA. I’m wondering where these stories come from, and how they could have travelled so far, and still be the same story even in the time before the WWW.

How to tell a How come story: One person gives the ending of a story, and the listeners are going to guess what has happened from the beginning of the story. The questions are to be answered only by «yes», «no» and «that’s not important», no other clues are given. It might take quite a long time, and it is not for performing, rather for parties or for friends sitting together in the night.

Most of the time the story includes the death of a person, and often murder or suicide. They are absurd, and there is not much chance of figuring them out without the questions! The clue is to find the clever questions, and once that is done, it becomes easier to figure out the story.

I’ve added the answers at the end of the page to give you a bit of time to wonder and fantasize of what has happened.


1. Romeo and Juliet are lying dead on the floor. Around them there is water and broken glass. The window is open, and you can see the tail of a cat jumping out. How come?

2. A dead man is lying in a forest, far from the sea. He is wearing a diving suit. How come?

3. A dead man is lying in a field, in front of a mountain. He is holding a straw in his hand. How come?

4. A man parks in front of a house. He utters: I’m ruined! How come?

5. A man walks into a restaurant. He asks for a raw albatross. He eats one bite, then walks into the toilet. Later he is found dead by hanging. How come?

6. A man walks out of a house. He is very happy. He goes to the railway station and takes a train. After some time he goes to the toilet. Later he is found dead by hanging. How come?

7. A man walks out of a house. He sees a woman on the other side of the road. He crosses the street, and strangles her dead. Later in court he is found guilty of murder, but walks out of the court as a free man. How come?

8. A man is driving his car. He turns on the radio, and then kills himself. How come?

9. A man is listening to the radio. He then walks up some stairs, turns on the light before he shoots himself. How come?

10. Every morning a man leaves his apartment in the 11th floor, and takes the elevator down to the ground level. When it is not raining he takes the elevator to the 7th level and walks the rest of the stairs when he comes home in the evening. When it is raining, he takes the elevator to the 11th floor. How come?

11. A man is saying good-bye to his wife, and walks out from their apartment. He goes into the elevator. Suddenly the electricity is gone. He then knows his wife is dead. How come?

12. A man wakes up in the morning. He rises from the bed, finds a dagger and kills himself. On the floor there is some saw dust. How come?

13. A man is found dead in a telephone box. There is glass and blood. How come?

14. A man gets a package in the mail. He opens it, and finds an arm. He puts it back into the packages and sends it to man number two, who does the same, sending it to man number three. This man also looks at it, but instead of sending it away, he throws it in the garbage. How come?

(I’ve also heard a variant of this one, where it takes place in the W.W.I, in a trench.)

15. A man who has lost his father, is severely injured in a car accident. He is taken into the operation room. The doctor comes running into the room, takes a look at the patient and exclaims: My son! How come?

16. A man is climbing up 27 stories to the top of a building, in desperation he jumps off of the top saying «Good-bye cruel world!». On the way down, as he passes the 18th floor, he hears a telephone ring and regrets his decision. How come?

17. A cowboy rides into town on Friday and leaves on Friday, but he only stays one day. How come?

18. A man walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a glass of water. The bartender pulls a gun at the man. The man smiles and says» thank you» and walks out. Why?

19. Two naked people are found dead. Immediately they are identified. Who were they?

20. Two (or Six) men are found dead in a cabin in the woods. How did they die?

21. A suicide is found hanging from the rafters of an empty warehouse. There is nothing nearby for him to have jumped from, yet he successfully killed himself. How did he do it?

22. Two cowboys go into a bar. Both order ice cold lemonade. The first cowboy immediately drinks his lemonade and rides off. The second one waits a few minutes in the cool of the bar before finishing his drink and leaving. Before he reaches his horse, he is dead. How did he die?

23. A bell rings, a man dies, a bell rings.


1. Romeo and Juliet are fishes. Their bowl has been pushed down from their table by a cat.

2. There has been a forest fire. The water has been taken in the sea by fire-planes (?). They had not seen the man who was diving in the water and accidentally had gotten into the water container.

3. Three men are up in a balloon. They reach to a mountain and find that they are not able to lift the balloon high enough. Instead of all three of them getting killed they take three straws, the one who gets the shortest straw has to jump.

4. He is playing monopoly and arrives at a hotel at the most expensive street.

5. A man, his best friend and his wife is on a cruise/boat trip. The boat sinks, but the three of them survive, and drift on the shore on a deserted island. They have no food, and are starving to death. The woman dies, and the friend takes her flesh and gives it to her husband, telling him that he has killed an albatross. He also says that his wife has become mad of hunger, and has swum away during the night.

6. The man has been blind all his life. He now comes walking out of the hospital after an operation that made him able to see. In the train back home, he needs to go to the toilet. The train goes into a tunnel, and everything becomes black. The man thinks he has lost his sight again, and can not stand it.

7. The man just came out of the prison after serving 20 years for the murder of his wife whom disappeared 20 years earlier. Out in the street, he sees her walking on the other side of the road.

8. The man is working in the radio. He has put on a LP for an alibi, he has driven home and murder his wife. Turning on the radio, he hears that there is a hack in the LP.

9. He is the guard of a light house. While listening to the radio he hears that a large ship with many people have sunk because the light in the lighthouse is not lightened.

10. He is a dwarf, and can not reach the 11th floor button, without the help of his umbrella.

11. She is lying in a machine that runs on electricity, to keep her heart beating.

12. This man is a dwarf on a circus. He is the smallest man in the world, and because of that he has a strong position, high wages etc. There is an other dwarf on this circus who is very jealous of this man, and he wants to play him a cruel practical joke. During the night he sneaks into his wagon, and saws off some centimeters of all the furniture. When the dwarf wakes up, he thinks he is no longer the shortest man in the world, and commits suicide.

13. He has been out fishing and has got a very large fish. In the telephone he excitedly stretches out his hand, saying -It was as large as this!

14. Four men were stranded on an island after their ship went down. Having nothing to eat, they decided that they would amputate their left arms and share it among themselves. One of them being a doctor would do the surgery, but since no-one could do the amputation on him he was supposed to wait until they where rescued. Then he would have it removed in sympathy with the others. To prove that he had done his part of the deal, he should send it to them by mail.

15. It is his mother.

16. He thought he was the last man alive.

17. The horse is named Friday.

18. He had hiccups

19. Adam and Eve– they had no belly buttons

20. Airplane crash– they were the pilots. Another term for the cockpit of a plane is «cabin».

21. Stood on a huge block of ice

22. Poisoned ice

23. A blind man has the habit of swimming in the sea. To find his way back to the shore a friend rings a bell to tell him the way. One day it is foggy, but this doesn’t matter to him so he still goes swimming. There is also a boat out in the fog, which rings its bell as a fog warning. He hears this bell, so he swims towards it and is run down by the boat and then the bell on the shore is rung.

11 kommentarer om “How come stories

  1. I enjoyed this collection very much. Thanks for posting in the forum and «plugging your blog».

  2. AWW! i love them!!

    a few girlfriends and myself were having the time of our lives with these ‘How Come Stories’ during our monthly Martini nites…
    but along the 5 of us we only knew 6…
    so i googled and came accross ur site!
    cheers to many more crazy martini nites thanks to you!

  3. Thank you!

    I am teaching science this fall after a career of English teaching. We’ve had lots of fun in my freshman classes with some of these riddles. I had heard several of them before, but you have assembled a very nice collection here. Students love to play with them at the end of classtime as we await the bells.

    I would love to see more «How come stories» if they are out there to be shared.

  4. Ikke sant! Og litt eldre barn elsker dem fremdeles, de har vært god underholdning og lek rundt bordet hos egne unger, tantunger og besøkende. Men det er lenge siden jeg har hørt noen nye – og nå kan alle alle. Skulle gjerne hatt litt påfyll.

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