Riddles in the Desert


Inspiration hits with a flash, stories written on the go. A rumble of laughter and the tale is heard only in echoes. The wind blows me in a new direction. Whom shall I visit next?

Swaying slightly in his tracks, Oedipus gazed upward. Haggard, unkempt, exhausted, the former king once again stood before the Sphinx; led by gods or by instinct, the two were together.

"Hail, desert mystery," he called bravely, wavering on his staff. "Well met!"

"Hail, Oedipus Rex, thou family man," intoned the Sphinx.

The king smiled wryly. "Your last riddle was apt. Then, I stood on two legs. Now, I go on three. As you can see."

The Sphinx was impassive, but her voice betrayed amusement. "As you say. Like Tiresias before you, you are blind, but you are no fool--you who were once prophecy's fool."

He shook his mane. "Enough. I want my riddle, my lady. Ask me."

The Sphinx nodded: "Oedipus, whither wilt go after this riddle? Have you plans? Where do you see yourself tomorrow?"

Oedipus smiled, paused, and answered. "I can see the future not; I have no eye, dear."

And the king received his reward, accorded ever since to the punsters of the world. And he could pass.

"I accept your groans, my lady. Fare well."


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