|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
STORY OF DÆDALUS AND ICARUS
 HELLEN, Deucalion's second son, finding Thessaly too
small to give homes to all the people, went southward
with a band of hardy followers, and settled in another
part of the country which we call Greece, but which was
then, in honor of him, called Hellas, while his people
were called Hellenes, or subjects of Hellen.
When Hellen died, he left his kingdom to his three
sons, Dorus, Æolus, and Xuthus. Instead of
dividing their father's lands fairly, the eldest two
sons quarreled with the youngest, and finally drove him
away. Homeless and poor, Xuthus now went to Athens,
where he was warmly welcomed by the king, who not only
treated him very kindly, but also gave him his daughter
in marriage, and promised that he should inherit the
This promise was duly kept, and Xuthus the exile ruled
over Athens. When he died, he left the crown to his
sons, Ion and Achæus.
As the Athenians had gradually increased in number
until their territory was too small to afford a living
to all the inhabitants, Ion and Achæus, even in their
father's lifetime, led some of their followers along
the Isthmus of Corinth, and down into the peninsula,
where they founded two flourishing states, called,
after them, Achaia and Ionia. Thus, while northern
Greece was pretty equally divided between the
Dorians and Æolians, descendants and subjects of Dorus and
Æolus, the peninsula was almost entirely in the hands
of Ionians and
Achæans, who built towns,
cultivated the soil, and
 became bold navigators. They
ventured farther and farther out at sea, until they
were familiar with all the neighboring bays and
Sailing thus from place to place, the Hellenes came at
last to Crete, a large island south of Greece. This
island was then governed by a very wise king called
Minos. The laws of this monarch were so just that all
the Greeks admired them very much. When he died, they
even declared that the gods had called him away to
judge the dead in Hades, and to decide what
punishments and rewards the spirits deserved.
Although Minos was very wise, he had a subject named
Dædalus who was even wiser than he. This man not
only invented the saw and the potter's wheel, but also
taught the people how to rig sails for their vessels.
As nothing but oars and paddles had hitherto been used
to propel ships, this last invention seemed very
wonderful; and to compliment Dædalus, the people
declared that he had given their vessels wings, and had
thus enabled them to fly over the seas.
Many years after, when sails were so common that they
ceased to excite any wonder, the people, forgetting
that these were the wings which Dædalus had made,
invented a wonderful story, which runs as follows.
Minos, King of Crete, once sent for Dædalus, and bade
him build a maze, or labyrinth, with so many rooms and
winding halls, that no one, once in it, could ever find
his way out again.
Dædalus set to work and built a maze so intricate that
neither he nor his son Icarus, who was with him,
 could get out. Not willing to remain there a prisoner,
Dædalus soon contrived a means of escape.
Dædalus and Icarus.
He and Icarus first gathered together a large quantity
of feathers, out of which Dædalus cleverly made two
pairs of wings. When these were fastened to their
shoulders by means of wax, father and son rose up like
birds and flew away. In spite of his father's cautions,
Icarus rose higher and higher, until the heat of the
sun melted the wax, so that his wings dropped off, and
he fell into the sea and was drowned. His father, more
prudent than he, flew low, and reached Greece in
safety. There he went on inventing useful things, often
gazing out sadly over the waters in which Icarus had
perished, and which, in honor of the drowned youth,
were long known as the Icarian Sea.
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