Theseus and The Minotaur
As punishment for not sacrificing his white bull to the god Poseidon, the goddess Aphrodite made Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos (king of Crete) fall in love with a bull. From this relationship the wife had a child, half-man, half-bull. This was the Minotaur.
As this child grew, it became more of a monster, attacking and killing people in Crete. King Minos decided to have Daedalus, a master arhcitect, build a complicated maze called the Labyrinth in which the Minotaur could be kept; and so this was done.
Meanwhile, Crete went to war with Athens. After one battle King Minos told the King of Athens, King Aegeus, that as punishment Athens was to send, every seven years, seven young men and seven young women to feed the minotaur. Again, this was done.
After two groups of young Athenians had been sent to Crete and never seen again, Aegeus’s own son, Theseus, decided to volunteer for the third group, saying he would kill the minotaur. King Aegeus begged his son not to go, but could not change his mind. All Theseus would say was that when he returned he would change the sail on his boat from black to white, so his father could know Theseus had won.
So Theseus and thirteen others were sent to Crete, and before they entered the Labyrinth they were shown in the streets of Crete. It was during this time that King Minos’s daughter, Ariadne, saw Theseus and thought she had to help save this young, handsome prince’s life. Quickly she rushed to Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth, and asked how anyone could survive.
“Keep going down, never turning left or right because you will never return, and you will meet the Minotaur. And tie a ball of string to the door so you may follow it back out.”
Ariadne ran to the prison, where the Athenians were now waiting before they were sent to death. She told Theseus what Daedalus had said, and Theseus said that if he returned he would take Ariadne back to Athens with him. Ariadne left, and that night Theseus entered the Labyrinth.
It was dark, with long halls after long halls, but Theseus followed the instructions he had been given. Soon he began to hear deep, rumbling noises, the sounds of a terrible monster. He entered a room at the heart of the Labyrinth, and there was the Minotaur.
The two fought, but Theseus was a man of both great strength and courage, and eventually he won by stabbing the beast in the throat. He cut off its head and returned, with the other Athenians, to find Ariadne. Ariadne and her sister Phaedra both agreed to sail to Athens.
Before sailing back to Athens, however, Theseus and the others needed some rest, and they slept on the beach. When they woke they were so excited about going home that they completely forgot about Ariadne and Phaedra, who were left behind in Crete.
Upset at leaving the women behind, Theseus then forgot what he had told his father, and did not change the sail on the ship. As the boat appeared on the Athens horizon King Aegeus looked out and saw the black sail.
‘My son is dead!”
With that Aegeus jumped into the sea (now called the Aegean Sea), killing himself, while his son sailed home.