Long long ago, there was a king named Minos. He ruled the island of Crete. Minos had conquered most parts of Greece including Athens. At regular intervals he ordred the people of Athens to send him seven young monster called the Minotaur. This creature had a bull’s head and a terrible monster called the Minotaur. This creature had a bull’s head and a human body. It was a dreadful beast, so strong and fierce that it was kept in a deep maze called the Labyrinth.

 The Labyrinth had been designed by a skilled inventor and craftsman called Daedulus. But at last one of the young men proved a match for the Minotaur. His name was Thesus. He managed to kill the monster and escape from the maze. When Theaseus escaped, king Minos flew into a rage with Daedulus and ordered that he be shut up in a high tower overlooking the sea. In time Daedulus managed to escape from the tower with the help of his young son, Icarus, but they were still trapped on the island of Crete with no chance of escape.

 But Daedulus had an inventor’s mind and skill and he told Icarus to gather all the feathers he could find along the shore. Melting some wax, Daedulus pressed the feathers one by one into the shape of a wing and secured them with thread.

 When four huge wings were ready, Daedulus and Icarus strapped them on and raised their arms in flapping motion. Immediately the wings were caught by the sea breeze and as soon as the man and the boy initiated the movements of the birds they too rose and soared into the sky. With slow, graceful sweeps they flew out over the sea and headed for the distant shores of Greece.

 Icarus was thrilled. He practised gliding, and rising and falling with faster beats of his wings. “Take care, Icarus,” his father called out to him. “Don’t try to be clever ! Keep well above the sea so that the spray doesn’t wet the feathers. But don’t fly high or the sun will melt the wax.”

 But Icarus was bewitched with the magic of flying. He flapped his wings frantically so that they would carry him higher and higher. The blazing sun beat down and softened the wax that held the feathers. Small downy fragments fluttered from the wings, then the larger feathers drooped and fell, Icarus flapped his arms, but no feathers remained to hold him up. Daedulus watched in horror as his son plunged down through the clouds and into the sea. He hurried to save him, but it was too late. All he could do was gather up the drowned body in his arms and haul it to land as best he could.

 So Daedulus was saved, but his young son perished and was buried in a place named Icaria in his memory.



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