sphinx and cub

Tohdom

Senior Member
Russian
"Nothing wrong with the riddle,’ said the Sphinx. ‘Damn good riddle. Had that riddle for fifty years, sphinx and cub.’ It thought about this. ‘Chick,’ it corrected."

hi, does anyone get this joke? Sphinx is part lion part woman.
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    The phrase “man and boy” used to be commonly used to mean “most of my life”: “I’ve lived in this town for fifty years, man and boy.”

    Since a sphinx is often depicted with wings, it is having difficulty deciding whether it was a cub or a chick when it was young.
     

    Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    Yes, it is because the sphinx is part lion and part woman but also, in this Terry Pratchett version, part eagle. Its first thought is to say "sphinx and cub" in the way a human might say "man and boy", but because it doesn't know which animal part to favour because it is made of so many it equivocates and changes to "chick", the young of a bird.

    From earlier in the chapter:

    "This may go some way to explaining the Sphinx's chronic bad temper, although any creature created with the body of a lion, the bosom of a woman and wings of an eagle has a serious identity crisis..."
     

    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The winged sphinx of Boeotian Thebes, the most famous in legend, was said to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to a riddle taught her by the Muses—What is it that has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?—and devouring a man each time the riddle was answered incorrectly. Eventually Oedipus gave the proper answer: man, who crawls on all fours in infancy, walks on two feet when grown, and leans on a staff in old age. The sphinx thereupon killed herself. From this tale apparently grew the legend that the sphinx was omniscient, and even today the wisdom of the sphinx is proverbial.
    Sphinx | mythology
     

    Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    It's the former :D But fortunately the hero has already started running away as the sphinx begins to realise...
     
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