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Texas ISD School Guide
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List of Riddles
By:Kenny Leones

The Riddle of the Sphinx

According to legend, the sphinx perched high above a mountain terrorized travelers but promised safe passage to anyone who could successfully answer her riddle: "What creature is that which in the morning walks on four legs, two at noon, and upon three in the evening?" The rogue royalty Oedipus came with the answer: "Man, who in childhood crawls on both hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age is aided with a staff." At this, the sphinx cast herself from her loft and perished.

The Riddle of Fleas

According to Greek biographer Plutarch (ca. A.D. 46-119), a riddle killed Homer in his vain attempt to unravel it. The riddle went as such: "What we caught/ we threw away.../What we could not catch/ we kept. The answer: fleas.

Samson's Riddle

As fully told in Judges chapter 14, Samson challenged his Philistine guests with a riddle: "Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet." The riddle was set up on a wager that cost "thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes," within a deadline of seven days. The wiley Philistines coaxed the answer out of Samson's Philistine wife. The explanation to the riddle: "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?"

The Gordian Knot

Riddles also come in the form of a device, such as the one made by King Gordius of Phrygia. In honor to Zeus, he fastened together the pole and yoke of his chariot with a complex knot. Along with it came a prophecy that whoever unravels the knot shall rule all Asia Minor. Centuries of failed attempts came to an end when Alexander the Great, impatient after repeatedly failing with his skill, reached for his sword and hacked the knot away.

John Wesley's Code

In 1909, the Reverend Nehemiah Curnock discovered John Wesley's personal Bible, studded with marginal notes written in a code that had remained unbroken for 175 years. He studied the Bible, and then through a dream, unlocked Wesley's code. The Reverend Curnock went on to unravel Wesley's Journal, which was also written in the same mysterious code. The results of the study were published between 1909 and 1915, and in four volumes.

Houdini's Code

It was meant to be the ultimate riddle to discredit mediums. Houdini challenged them to reveal the code and solve it after the time of his death that came in 1926. Thousands have tried in vain, until February 1928. In a series of sťances, medium Arthur Ford first uncovered a cryptogram that went: "Rosabelle... answer...tell...pray-answer...tell...answer...answer...tell." Ford went on to conclude that the mystery word was "believe" as the words of Houdini's code represented the first 10 letters of the alphabet.

The Rubik's Cube

Known as the Gordian Knot of our time, it took the world by storm when it debuted in the West in 1980. Yearly cube tournaments continue to this day with records made and broken.

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