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Daedalus and Icarus

On the Isle of Crete lived a brutal monster called the Minotaur. It had a bull's muscular body, a grotesque, barely human face, horns, and sharp teeth.  It was extremely strong and fierce.

Minos, the King of Crete, kept the Minotaur in a maze build by Daedalus, a master craftsman. The Minotaur's maze was artfully designed.  With its numberless winding passages, twists, and turns, it seemed to have neither beginning nor end.

Minos was a cruel ruler.  He ordered that each year seven young men and seven young women be sent to their deaths by being locked in the maze.  There the Minotaur roamed, waiting for its next meal of human flesh.

The friendship of an evil king is not to be trusted.  Soon after building the maze, Daedalus lost the king's favour. He and his young son Icarus were condemned to live in the maze until the Minotaur found and devoured them.

So perfect was the maze that even its' builder could not escape from its' tangled halls.  Still, Daedalus planned his escape.  He knew he could not leave the island by sea because Minos searched every ship/

"Minos may control the land and sea," said Daedalus, "but not the air. I will try that way."

Daedalus gathered feathers which he fastened together with bits of string and globs of wax.  Young Icarus would chase after the feathers that blew away, or he would remain by his father and play with the wax. Before long, Daedalus had completed two sets of wings.  He strapped one set to himself and, flapping them gently, began to rise gracefully.  With a little practice, Daedalus was able to fly forward and backward, and to suspend himself in air.

Next, he fitted Icarus with the other pair of wings and taught the excited boy to master them. When the two were ready to fly beyond the walls of their prison, Daedalus spoke with a trembling voice:

"Icarus, my son, you must remember not to fly too high, for the heat of the sun can melt your wings.  Keep near me and you will be safe."

Daedalus rose slowly into the air and Icarus followed behind.  Occasionally the father would glance back to his boy's progress.  As they flew, the plowman stopped his work to gaze and the shepherd leaned on his staff to watch them, astonished at the sight and thinking them to be gods.

Thrilled by the feeling of freedom, Icarus forgot his father's words and began to soar upward as if to reach heaven.  The blazing sun softened the wax which held the feathers together.  One by one they began to drop away.  Icarus wildly waved his arms. but no feathers remained to keep him in the air.

"Father!" he cried, as he plunged into the sea.

"Icarus, Icarus, where are you?!" his father shouted.  At last he looked down and saw the remains of his child's wings floating on the Aegean Sea. 

In his son's memory, Daedalus named the spot the Icarian Sea.  It has been called that ever since.