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The Riddle of the Sphinx, A Battle of Wits: Sometimes Even a half-wit can get lucky
Posted by R. Wesley Lovil, Feb 26, 2012. 1564 views. ID = 5419

The Riddle of the Sphinx, A Battle of Wits

Posted by R. Wesley Lovil, Feb 26, 2012. 1564 views. ID = 5419
This post was written in 24 minutes.
Sorry but the riddles, although changed to fit into my tale are not of my own invention.
This post has been awarded 14 stars by 3 readers.

Calchas was a simple man who lived a simple life and now he was nearing the end of his days. His life had been his small street cafe near the harbor where he served mariners as they waited for their crafts to be repaired and loaded with wears destined to far off places. As Calchas listened to his customer's tales, of exotic places he dreamed of one day setting off on an adventurous trek but of course, he had his family and his business to take care and thus travel was impossible.
However, today Calchas life was about to change, for he had sold his little shop and was ready to retire to a life of leisure. As he waited for the new owner to arrive he served what he hoped was his last customer, A sailor with whom he had listened to many times.
"Calchas, don't be a fool, now is the chance you've longed for all your life, you have nothing to keep you here, come with me, board my ship and we'll leave at high tide for the adventure of your dreams."
The more the shopkeeper thought over the offer the more he realized that the ship's captain was right and in a rash moment made the decision to sail into a new life.

After three days on the high seas, Calchas was learning how hard a life seafaring was and now his only dream was to stop spilling his guts upon the waters and the desire to be on terra firma again. He was at his place by the side of the ship's rail spewing bile when suddenly a huge wave crashed against the vessel throwing Calchas and a part of the railing into the water. He yelled and screamed but no one heard him and he would not be missed until the evening meal. He saw the rail section, grabbed it to keep him afloat, and resigned to his fate fell asleep on top of it.

Calchas awoke as his body was slammed into a beach along a strange coastline. There were trees along the beach were filled with odd-looking fruits and he ate his fill. Then stuffing his pockets with the tasty treats he set off to see if he could find help. He walked for two days without sighting a soul until he came upon a fierce creature just outside a clearing. It appeared to be a lion but with the head of a woman, wait Calchas had heard of this monster and he knew it to be called a Sphinx. He knew something else about the beast, if you could answer her riddle she would let you pass and if you could not she would devour you. The best part was, he also knew the answer to the riddle, and he thanked the gods for making him a good listener to all the tales told at his cafe.
"Trespasser, if you wish to proceed you must answer my question, It walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three legs in the evening. What is it?"
"Too easy, the answer is man, who crawls on all four as a babe in the morning of his life then walks upright at the noontime of his life and then with the aid of a cane at the evening time of his life."
"That is correct you may pass but if you like I will try to answer one of your riddles, if I can't I will give you the knowledge of my world but if I can, you will then need to answer another of mine."
"OK great Sphinx, how far can a blind man walk into your vast desert?"
"You foolish man that is simple, the answer is 'halfway' because after that he is walking out of my desert."
"What is greater than the Gods and yet more evil than the devil himself. The poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it you'll die?"
Calchas now knew that he had become overconfident with his adversary for he had no idea of the answer. He thought long and hard but still no answer. He could feel the putrid hot breath of the Sphinx ready to pounce and devour him. He muttered to himself as he awaited his fate,
"Nothing is as strong as the gods and I am sure that nothing is as evil as the devil I just..."
The scream of the Sphinx was blood curdling and he looked up expecting to be eaten,
"Nothing is the right answer how could you have known?"
Of course, nothing was the answer for the poor have nothing, the rich want for nothing and if you eat nothing you will starve to death.
Calchas was given not only safe passage but also a stone tablet filled with the secrets of long ago. Centuries later when part of this tablet was found among the ruins, it would be called the Rosetta stone and on it, the riddles of ancient times were answered.

Copyright 2012 R. Wesley Lovil. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 14 stars by 3 readers.
This post is part of a writing prompt: The Riddle of the Sphinx

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