A fearsome monster lived in ancient Crete,
The Minotaur, who dearly loved to eat
Young girls and boys; they were a tasty treat.
This monster had the body of a man,
But head of bull, so picture if you can
A most ferocious beast, from which all ran.
King Minos made the monster spend its days
Inside the Labyrinth, a tortuous maze,
Well hidden from the sun's bright warming rays.
Its father was a gorgeous bull, snow white,
Which rose beneath the sea into the light,
Poseidon's gift to Minos for a rite.
The bull was given for a sacrifice,
But Minos couldn't kill a brute so nice,
So kept it for his own, against advice.
Poseidon, angered, wished to foster strife
For Minos, thus caused Pasiphae, his wife,
To love the bull and bring a child to life.
And that is how the Minotaur was born,
Part man, part bull, with long and curling horn;
The kind of child that makes a mother mourn.
King Minos asked a tribute for the beast
Of seven youths and seven maids, at least.
It fell to Athens to supply this feast.
Once in nine years this offering was paid.
Aegeus, king of Athens, was afraid
Of mighty Minos so he always made
These bloodstained gifts, and sent them one by one.
How could this mischief ever be undone?
It's time that we met Theseus, his son.
The third such gift of kids was coming due
When, lo, young Theseus, who often slew
A monster in good cause, both tried and true ,
Announced that he would go with them to Crete.
"Once there I will engage and then defeat
The Minotaur, nor will I once retreat."
So he, with youths and maids, to Crete set sail,
To slay the Minotaur and not to fail.
There, Ariadne met this handsome male.
Now Theseus had Aphrodite's aid;
She helped him gain the love of this fair maid.
That was his secret in this escapade.
The daughter of King Minos fell in love
With Theseus, and prayed to gods above
That he would find that she was worthy of
His love, also. She pondered this for days,
Then went to Daedalus, who built the maze,
And learned its secret in return for praise.
Next, Ariadne gave a ball of string
To Theseus, directing him to bring
It to the maze, but not to tell the king.
He went into the maze with length of thread.
It helped him find the beast, asleep; he shed
Its blood with piercing sword until 'twas dead.
And now that he had won without a doubt
He traced the thread as it snaked all about
Until at long long last it led him out.
Sweet Ariadne asked if she could flee
With Theseus and kids across the sea.
She hoped for love, but this was not to be.
For on the isle of Naxos, while asleep,
She was deserted, left alone to weep,
With just her fleeting memories to keep.
But then the wine god, Dionysus, spied
Her there and raised her up to be his bride.
Immortal, she lived happy, by his side.
And Daedalus? Confined to his own maze
With Icarus, his son, he was to raise
Them up with wings he made; to where the blaze
Of sun was hot they flew, but sad to say,
The wings of Icarus would melt away.
He died, but Daedalus survived the day.
And Theseus returned upon his ship
To Athens, joyed by his successful trip,
But quite forgot to, per agreement, strip
His sail of black, replacing it with white,
A signal to his father that his fight
Had ended well and he'd come out all right.
Aegeus thus, when he the black sail spied,
Despaired of Theseus and thought he'd died,
And threw himself into the raging tide.
Then Theseus, of Athens became king.
He always was where things were happening,
And had adventures of which poets sing.
And so we end this myth of yesteryear
That tells of love and lust and hate and fear,
Of gods and men and beasts, recorded here.