Puzzles: The Riddle of the Sphinx

Egyptain Sphinx Photo

A sphinx is a mythological monster with the head and breasts of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of a bird. The picture at the left is the famous one from Egypt. However, "The Riddle" concerns a sphinx from ancient Greece.

It seems at the time of such ancient Greeks as Oedipus, Jocasta, and Laius, a sphinx crouched on a rock at the entrance to the city of Thebes and stopped all who were about to enter by asking them to solve a riddle. If they could not solve the riddle, she killed them. When the hero Oedipus solved the riddle, the sphinx killed herself, and the Thebeans made Oedipus their king!


What is it that has four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?


They crawl on four limbs while they are a baby, walk upright on two as an adult, and walk with the aid of a cane during old age.

Last update April 2, 2010