Tanglewood Tales By Nathaniel Hawthorne Story retold by Joshua Mireles “The Minotaur” Once upon a time there was a little boy named Theseus who’s father was named King Egeus. He wanted to go visit his father who was in a far away land. His mother, who was Ethra, said “You’re still a young boy. You’re too young to go on such an errand. Once you lift up that stone beside me, and see what is under it, you will be able to go to your father.” So he went over to the stone and pulled up his sleeves and got ready to lift up the rock. He pushed and he pulled and he tugged and he tugged, but he could never lift it up. So, after some years, the moss had covered the rock and it looked as though it had become part of the ground. He was then 16 years old. Then he asked his mother, “Can I try to pull it up again?” His mother said, “Yes”. So again, he tugged and he pushed and he pulled. But still, he could not lift it up. So then, after another year, he said, “I am no longer a mere youth, I am a man.” So he pulled and he pushed and he cracked a root, and uprooted a flower. He said, “Mother, I have uprooted a flower.” His mother did not believe him. So he showed his mother. He lifted the rock and he put it to the side. And his mother stumbled in surprise. Theseus helped his mother up. And he looked under the rock, and there was a box. So, his mother took it out and opened it. In it was his father’s sword and sandals. By this time, he was twenty-one, and his mother let him go with the sword. King Pittus wanted him to go by sea, not by land because there were thieves and robbers on land. At the word thieves and robbers, Theseus’s ears perked up and he said, “I want to go by land.” And he did. There was a thief and he had the habit of putting people on his bed and offered them wine and food. But then, if they were too short for the bed, he would stretch them out until they died and fit his bed. If they were too long for the bed, he would pull off their head and feet. But Theseus wasn’t comfortable on the bed, so he left in a hurry. There was another thief who had a habit of tossing people off a cliff beside his house. But Theseus twisted away, and tossed him off the cliff, but instead of falling into the water, all his evil deeds made him paralyzed in the air. He walked on, until he came to the kingdom. There was an evil sorcerer in the kingdom whom King Egeas had married because he thought that his other wife had died. So Theseus came to the kingdom, and the evil sorcerer told the king to put this evil pellet of poison into his wine, because she had fooled the king into believing that his son was a thief. Theseus went into the castle, which was quite extraordinary, because it had lions on each side with wine dripping out of their jaws, to look like blood. As he entered, King Egeus offered to have him sit beside him. Then he held out the wine with trembling hands, but pulled it back, because Theseus pulled out his sword and said, “I am your son.” He tossed the cup away and said, “My son, those are Ethra’s eyes.” The evil sorcerer got so angry that she called up her evil chariot pulled by dragons, and she threw all her jewels out of the kingdom, flew away, and was never heard from again. King Egeas was telling his son how they took seven men and women to fight an evil monster, called the Minotaur, half man and half bull. And this monster was kept by King Minos. So, later that night, Theseus sneaked aboard the ship and sailed away with the prisoners. The prisoners and Theseus went before King Minos, and King Minos said, “Who is that 15th person?” The soldiers were shocked to see the 15th. One of the guards said, “We did not notice, O King.” King Minos said, “Take the 15th, and he shall go alone tomorrow.” The next morning, his daughter, the princess Ariadne, gave Theseus a dagger or short sword, and a ball of thread. She said, “Tie one end to a rock, and pull it along with you, and follow the Minotaur’s roar. And then, use this dagger to help you fight, and then follow this string back out.” Theseus obeyed. He tied one end to a rock and then followed the Minotaur’s roar, which got deafening. The ferocious beast jumped out. Theseus took out his dagger and cut off the beast’s head. And then he followed the string back. He took the head to King Minos as proof that he had killed the Minotaur. And what happened to Ariadne, no one knows. Some say that she snuck aboard the ship with Theseus, and others say that he asked King Minos to have her hand in marriage. So Theseus sailed back home, but his father was so sad because he thought his son had died. So, he threw himself off a cliff, fell into the water and drowned. When Theseus returned, he heard this melancholy news, and found himself to be king. He sent for his dear mother in Athens and taking her advice in matters of state, he became a great king and lived happily ever after.