It possessed celestial powers and was located near the city of Ancient Thebes, spreading destruction and misfortune throughout the district.
The Sphinx had long hair, the body of a lion, the breast and wings of a bird, and the head of a woman.
The Sphinx used to sit outside Thebes and pose the same riddle to anyone who passed by. The riddle was as follows:
"What walks on four legs at dawn, two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?"
Would the traveler fail to solve the riddle, he was cursed to death.
No one was ever able to answer the question correctly... until one day Oedipus appeared. Oedipus was promised the hand of the princess if he correctly interpreted the riddle.
Being famous for his wisdom, Oedipus found the solution to the riddle with ease and answered:
"The man, who crawls on four legs as a baby, then walks on two legs as an adult, and in old age walks with a stick as a third leg..."
The Sphinx was so frustrated by this answer that it immediately committed suicide and threw itself off a high cliff.
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