USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘sphinx’
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Sphinx Riddle

“Okay… so I don’t remember where I heard this riddle I must have been extremely young. But I remember it very vividly because I thought it was so cool and I don’t know what it’s called but I remember how it goes. So a Sphinx… when you’re walking down a path and you’re just trying to keep walking but a Sphinx is in your way and so…in order to get past the Sphinx the Sphinx will never let you pass and I think it kills you if you don’t answer the riddle correctly… but the only way to pass is to answer a riddle correctly and this is the riddle the Sphinx asks, ‘what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs during the day, and three legs in the evening’ and nobody ever gets it right so the Sphinx always kills them or doesn’t let them pass, I don’t remember if they kill them or don’t let them pass but the correct answer is a person like a human being because when you’re a baby you crawl on four legs and when you are an adult, you walk on two, and when you’re an old man, you walk on two and your third is a cane and that’s how the Sphinx gets ya”

This is a fairly common folktale if one had studied greek legends. what I enjoy about this folklore is that it’s both a story. A folktale about a Sphinx that kills people, but it’s also a riddle as well. There is a riddle within the story. It’s very Shakespearean in that sense.

Digital
Riddle

Riddle About Man

Riddle: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?

Answer: Man. He crawls on all hands and knees as a baby, walks on two legs as an adult, and walks using a cane in his old age.

This is a well known riddle, cited from The Braingle.com.

According to the UnMuseum, this riddle was given by the Sphinx to all travelers. It would eat all the travelers who could not answer his riddle, until Oedipus gave the correct answer of “Man,” and caused the Sphinx to die.

The fact that his riddle from such a long time ago is so well known even today shows the universality of riddles about humanity. This riddle causes people to reflect and look at themselves and their lives in order to answer the riddle. It makes people think about the concept of life and aging, and brings an awareness to the natural progression of life in a clever way.

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