Daidalos and Ikaros
To grasp the tale of Ikaros and Daidalos, we must grasp first the story of Minos. In my last installment, you found out about Minos' cruelty toward Skylla after she evilly killed her father to help him. In short, Minos was not nice. He had an entire fleet of ships in his navy, which took down everything in their path. As king of Krete, Minos was surrounded by water, which makes it seem stupid that when Poseidon, god of water, gave him a magical white bull to be sacrificed, Minos disobeyed commands and kept the bull as a pet. Poseidon wasn't happy. So he came up with a plan.
Meanwhile, in Athens lived an inventor named Daidalos. Daidalos was the wisest man alive, and was able to design boats that never sank, tools that could flatten mountains, and statues that looked alive. But that was nothing compared to Daidalos' nephew, Talos. Talos was only a small boy, yet knew how to ivent tools that flattened forests in a day, statues that were almost really alive, and design houses that were indestructable. Daidalos hated him.
So when Talos fell off the roof of Athene's temple, Daidalos had to flee for his life because of the severe suspicions people had. Daidalos fled to Krete, and fell into the services of Minos. And Minos' wife Pasiphae grew an attraction to him. Maybe Daidalos noticed them, those subtle gestures Pasiphae made: a wink, a smile, a hair-toss. And then she one day approached his shop and told him a secret.
Poseidon had made Eros shoot Pasiphae with a love arrow. And now Pasiphae was in love...with the Kretan Bull Poseidon had given. Daidalos was horrified, but had to obey her commands: for him to make a hollow cow statue so she could be with the bull. The rouse worked... but too well. The bull mounted Pasiphae as she sat in the tiny statue. What happened next is too horrible and abominable to imagine, but in nine months Pasiphae gave birth to a hideous creature with a bull's head, a shark's teeth, and a man's body and strength: The Minotauros.
So Daidalos recieved another assignment... this time from Minos: To build an underground prison, so winding and narrow and trap-filled that any who entered became lost and unescapable in seconds. As Daidalos expected, the Minotauros was put inside. But what Daidalos didn't expect was worse: because his son was accidentally killed while in Athens, Minos proceeded to force Athens to send seven boys and seven girls, all virgins, to Krete every nine years to be left in the maze, the Labyrinth, to either starve or be found and mauled and eaten by the Minotauros.
But Daidalos then made a huge mistake. He tried to leave Krete. But he knew too much. So Minos wouldn't allow it. He locked Daidalos in his workshop and put guards at the docks to watch for Daidaos and his son Ikaros and make sure they didn't leave. That wasn't enough to stop Daidalos. He gathered millions of feathers, and jars full of wax and honey. He mixed all of it together, all the while building frames of sturdy lumber. And when everything, the feathers, wood, honey, and wax, were compiled, there were two pairs of giant wings, big enough for men. The day he finished, Daidalos hooked one pair to his clumsy son Ikaros. He hugged the boy, and said, "Leave. Follow me from Krete. Don't go to high, or too low. Remember that my son. Remember." And once Daidalos had his wings, they both jumped from the cliffs of Knossos. Up they flew, Daidalos steady and watching, Ikaros clumsy and swift. Ikaros felt pride, and began flapping higher and higher.
Then the Sun proved Daidalos' warnings true. The wax and honey holding everything together melted in the growing heat, and everything crumbled. Ikaros fell, and Daidalos saw him fall. The boy seemed to fall so long Daidalos thought Ikaros was flying without wings. But the sea below caught up to Ikaros, enveloped him, and killed him. And Daidalos was forced to have to fly on, unable to go low or he would drown also. He landed at Sicily, hung the wings in Apollon's temple, and went into the service of King Kokalos there.
Minos later arrived, searching for Daidalos, and the inventor's wisdom allowed him to be found when he answered the king's unanswerable riddle. Minos prepared to drag Daidalos back to Krete, preparing for a celebration feast, preparing with a bath in Sicily's new bathhouse. He didn't know Daidalos was there, or that Daidalos had designed the bathhouse. Daidalos poured a mixture composed of boiled poisons and venoms in the pipes, the exact ones entering Minos' private bath. Minos shriveled as the mixture hit him, and was was found of him later was nothing but dusty bones.
And so Daidalos fell from grace, falling even deeper and farther than his son. Before he died, a man visiting his workshop found it filled with miniature statues, statues of a boy with wings, millions of them, crafted by one inventor: a man who had loved, a man who had hated, and a man who died alone and depressed.
(stay tuned for art)