In classic mythology, there is the story of the Sphinx, a monster with the body of a lion and the upper part of a woman.
The Sphinx lay crouched on the top of a rock along the highroad to the city of Thebes, and stopped all travellers passing by, proposing to them a riddle.
Those who failed to answer the riddle correctly were killed.
This is the riddle the Sphinx asked the travellers: "What animal walks on four legs in the morning, two legs during the day, and three legs in the evening?"
This is part of the story of Oedipus, who replied to the Sphinx, "Man, who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff."
Morning, day and night are representative of the stages of life.
The Sphinx was so mortified at the solving of her riddle that she cast herself down from the rock and perished.
A woman who lived in Germany during World War II wanted to cross the German/Swiss border in order to escape Nazi pursuers. The bridge which she is to cross is a half mile across, over a large canyon. Every three minutes a guard comes out of his bunker and checks if anyone is on the bridge. If a person is caught trying to escape German side to the Swiss side they are shot. If caught crossing the other direction without papers they are sent back. She knows that it takes at least five minutes to cross the bridge, in which time the guard will see her crossing and shoot her. How does she get across?
She waits until the guard goes inside his hunt, and begins to walk across the bridge. She gets a little more than half way, turns around, and begins to walk toward the german side once more. The guard comes out, sees that she has no papers, and sends her "back" to the swiss side.