The Witty Riddler
(6th century BCE ,Greece)
Back in the day, riddles were just the coolest thing ever.
There was nothing else to do, no Netflix, no Hulu, no HBO Max. All anybody did was sit around all day, drink wine and come up with these ridiculous fucking riddles for the amusement of their friends.
Do not ask me why. It sounds terrible.
Anyway, Cleobulina was the daughter of the poet Cleobulus, and she was known around town as THE lady-riddler. She was famous for her cleverness. If you wanted a riddle, Cleobulina was your first stop.
Only three of her riddles survived the harsh winds of history, and honestly, they make no sense.
It’s like if you went back in time to ancient Greece and tried to tell them a joke about Disney+. They would be like, what is Disney, what is streaming, what is video, what is the internet, why are you, a woman, wearing PANTS?
Well, I’ll tell you her riddles anyway.
Cleobulina Riddle #1
“I saw one man cheat another and steal from him by force;
But in this case might was right, so everybody thought.
What did I see?”
The answer is: A man disarming a lunatic.
I HAVE NO IDEA GUYS
NOT EVEN GOING TO BOTHER
Cleobulina Riddle #2
“I saw one man welded in bronze to another,
Until the two became as one—in blood, brothers.
What did I see?”
The answer is: a physician bleeding a patient into a cupping instrument.
YES, HILARIOUS, UM…
Cleobulina Riddle #3:
“Alive my braying voice could drive a man to tears;
Dead my knobbly bones will bring pleasure to your ears.
What am I?”
The answer is: A flute made from an ass’s bone.
FINALLY, one that made me laugh.
(REAL HISTORIANS HAVE FIGURED OUT WHAT THIS MEANS BUT I DON’T HAVE THE CHARACTER COUNT TO EXPLAIN)
Guys, if you learn one thing from me today, let it be that COMEDY DOES NOT HOLD UP OVER MILLENNIA, and that’s okay. Comedy does not have to be timeless.
There are also two comedy plays named for Cleobulina, although she did not write them (they were written by Cratinus and Alexis, respectively), but they are thought to be written in her honor.
And today, we honor Cleobulina, too!
The lady of riddles. Riddles that once made sense, but no longer do. That’s not her fault. Let us all pay tribute. A star in her own time, as entertaining as any streaming service.