It had the body of an over-large lion: great clawed paws and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown tuft. Its head, however, was that of a woman. She turned her long, almond-shaped eyes upon Harry as he approached. He raised his wand, hesitating. She was not crouching as if to spring, but pacing from side to side of the path, blocking his progress. (628)Then, the sphinx presents her riddle. It's the third and final riddle of the Harry Potter series: the first being the potion riddle that Hermione solves at the end of The Sorcerer's Stone, and the second being the riddle of the merpeople, the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. The riddle is elegantly phrased and easily solvable:
"First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what's always the last thing to mend,
The middle of middle and end of end?
And finally give me the sound often heard
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together, and answer me this,
Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?" (629)
I'll give you a second to ponder the puzzle if you haven't read the books, or don't recall the answer.
The answer is: A spider!
"The sphinx smiled broadly. She got up, stretched her front legs, and then moved aside for him to pass" (630).
Join me tomorrow in my A to Z Challenge: T is for Time Turner