Theseus and the Minotaur by Lydia Tolerico

Theseus was the son of Aethra, the princess of Troezen, and either King Aegeus of Athens or the god Poseidon. Before Theseus was born, Aegeus told Aethra that he would go back to Athens and she would care for Theseus until he was seventeen years old. Once Theseus turned seventeen, he would have to move a boulder that sat atop a hole in the ground and retrieve some gifts his father left for him in the hole. If he could complete this task, Theseus could go to Athens and find his father. When Theseus turned seventeen, Aethra told him of the things he would discover if he managed to move to boulder from it's spot. Sure enough, Theseus was able to move the boulder, get the items from underneath (which were a pair of leather sandals and Aegeus's sword), and begin his quest to Athens.
On his quest to meet Aegeus, Theseus encountered many bandits and monsters. One of the bandits Theseus ran into was Sinis, who was also known as the "Pine Bender." Sinis was called this because he would ask anyone who passed to hold down a pine tree and, once they had a grip on the tree, Sinis would tie their wrists to two trees and let go, flinging them to wherever they may go. Fortunately, Aethra had told Theseus about Sinis, and he knew just what to do. He held down the tree using his strength and smarts. Sinis, in awe, came over to look, which is when Theseus decided to let go of the tree. It hit Sinis in the face and he went unconscious. By the time Sinis awoke, Theseus had already tied him to two pine trees and was prepared to let go. Despite his pleas, Theseus flung Sinis into the stratosphere before continuing on his journey to Athens.

A few dozen monsters and criminals later, Theseus finally arrived in Athens. Upon arrival, he realized that he would not be able to get into the king's palace very easily. Coincidentally, there was currently a bull rampaging in a nearby village and if Theseus could capture the bull and bring it back to Athens, he would be invited to dinner with the king. Theseus couldn't pass down this opportunity, so he went to the nearby village of Marathon and captured the beast known as the Marathonian Bull. When he came back with the animal, Theseus was invited to go to the king's palace and have dinner with King Aegeus, though no one knew who he really was. Well, the king's wife, Medea, knew about Theseus's true identity, and she did not want Theseus to ruin anything for her. She told the king Theseus was a trespasser and put poison in his drink. When Theseus came to dinner, Aegeus recognized his sword that he had left for Theseus and knew it was his only son. He spared Theseus life, but there will still other problems going on in Athens.

Theseus was not happy to find out that soon, fourteen tributes were being sent to the island of Crete to be sacrificed to the the half-man half-bull creature, the Minotaur under order of King Minos of Crete. Theseus decided that he would go as one of the tributes and slay the Minotaur so that it would not cause any more problems for Athens. Aegeus hesitantly allowed Theseus to do this, but under the condition that when he returned, he had to change the sails of the ship to a color other than black to signal that he had survived. Theseus agreed to this and soon he and the other thirteen tributes were on a boat to Crete.

Once Theseus and the tributes arrived in Crete, they were treated to a day of luxury before they were sentenced to death. At the feast right before they were sent to the Minotaur's labyrinth maze, Theseus met a girl named Ariadne, who instantly fell in love with him. Ariadne decided to help Theseus to keep the man she loved from being sentenced to death. The night before he went into the labyrinth, she brought Theseus a length of string to help him not get lost in the labyrinth. She told him to call for her once he defeated the beast, then she would get him out of the labyrinth and the tributes and Theseus could get off of Crete. Ariadne only asked that Theseus brought her with him, and he agreed.

The next day, Theseus and the other tributes were thrown in the labyrinth. Theseus had his string fashioned as a belt so no one could tell what it was, because he could not bring weapons into the labyrinth. Once inside, Theseus told the other tributes to wait near the entrance as he killed the Minotaur. Theseus went into the maze and eventually found the Minotaur. He spent a while trying to dodge the Minotaur before he could go at it, but when he had a chance, Theseus charged for the Minotaur and got on top of him, ripping one of his horns out. The Minotaur roared in shock, which gave Theseus the moment he needed. He ran up to the Minotaur and stabbed it. After the Minotaur died, Theseus followed the string back to the tributes. He called for Ariadne and she commanded the guards to open the doors. Once they were out, Theseus, Ariadne, and the other tributes were off to sail back to Athens.
On their journey back to Athens, Theseus and the tributes stopped on an island. When they boarded the boat the next day, Ariadne was left behind. Theseus and the tributes continued to travel without her, still celebrating the defeat of the Minotaur. In all their excitement, Theseus forgot to change the color of the ship's sails. When Aegeus saw the ship coming up to Athens with black sails, he thought his only son had not survived. He was so upset that he threw himself off of the highest tower on his palace and fell to his death. Because his father was dead, Theseus became king, though he never really got to know his father. The end.

Credits:

Created with images by TheTurducken - "Boulder Rock" • Horia Varlan - "Green Norway Spruce tree tops onto clear blue sky" • History Maps - "Greece - Theseus Kills the Minotaur 2" • Janus Serendipity - "Hyde Park Fountain - Theseus and the Minotaur"

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