Postcard from... Crete
Icarus and his waxen wings
Welcome to another ancient story. Today I’m writing from Crete. This is my second time here. Crete is one of my favorite places, because this is the setting for the story of Icarus, which I’ll tell you all about now.
Once there was a man named Daedalus. Daedalus was a very good man, but he was an even better sculptor and inventor! His sculptures were so realistic, that people thought they might come to life and run away!
But the dark side of Daedalus came out when he became jealous of his nephew, Talos, all because he was smarter than him. He tried to throw him off the Acropolis cliff, but Athena rescued Talos and turned him into a mighty and beautiful bird.
Actually, it happened to be my favorite bird: a partridge.
So Daedalus was banned from Athens and had to come to Crete. King Minos, who ruled the island, really wanted to keep Daedalus here in Crete. He made many things for the king, including a maze where the king kept the minotaur, which was a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man.
(Learn more about the Minotaur in our member’s only section, here. We’ve kept this one open, so everyone can see what our full editions are like:
King Minos even kept Daedalus’s son, Icarus, here too!
That’s when Daedalus invented something that would be his son’s fate...
Daedalus told his son, “King Minos rules the oceans. He rules the lands and all animals that step their foot on it. But, he does not rule the heavens and the gods.”
So, he spent days and days studying birds and learning their movements. Finally, he created some elegant wings for Icarus and himself. They were going to fly off the island of Crete.
Daedalus told his son to fly in between the extremes. Not too close to the waves or the feathers might absorb the water and become too heavy. But not too high either, because otherwise the wax on his wings would melt and he would fall like the death of an angel.
The father and son flapped their feathered wings through the bright blue sky. But, Icarus had a strong feeling to fly high up to the heavens (maybe to meet his great grandmother?)
So he did. And guess what? His glimmering wings captured the rays of the sun and began to droop.
Poor Icarus fell like a bird that had been shot by an arrow straight into the sea. (Perhaps next to a goldfish!)
His father turned around only to see his son falling. He swooped down to save him, but to no avail. Icarus was dead. Daedalus gently picked the boy up and flew to a nearby island.
Now, that island is named Icaria, after poor Icarus.
The moral of the story is not to fly too high or too low, but enjoy what you have and control your strong feelings.
I hope you enjoyed my story. I’ll write to you again from...???
Now, I don’t know goodbye in Greek, so I’ll just say it in Ancient Greek,
P.S. After Icarus’s wings fell apart, there was a loose thread that a kitten found. She started playing with it and had the best day of her life. So even though Icarus died and it was a very bad fate, there was still something to help us look on the bright side.
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