This is a chapter of Evergreen Stories by W. M. L. Hutchinson. It includes the following stories: King Midas and His Strange Adventures — Alcestis, the Noble Wife — The Real Helen — Cupid and Psyche — The Vision of Er — Circe, the Island Witch — Bellerophon, the Rider of Pegasus — How Theseus Slew the Minotaur — Odysseus in the Land of Shadows — Heracles and the Poisoned Robe | The Story of Pheidippides — The Story of Solon, Croesus, and Cyrus
How Theseus Slew the Minotaur has the following chapters: 1. The Story of Theseus before His Birth | 2. Theseus Reunites with His Father Aegeus | 3. Theseus Finds Out about the Tributes for King Minos | 4. Ariadna Decides to Help Theseus | 5. Daedalus Helps Ariadna Help Theseus | 6. What Happened Once Theseus Left the Labyrinth | 7. Ariadna’s Destiny | 8. Daedalus and His Son Icarus
When the Athenian captives arrived at the royal city of Cnossus, they were brought to a palace vast and splendid beyond anything they could have imagined, where Minos received them like welcome guests and entertained them sumptuously for nine days. The rest began to think the dreadful tale about the Minotaur was a fable, and they were in gay spirits.
But Theseus saw the king’s cold, gleaming eyes watching them at the feast, and a cruel smile on his dark face; and he guessed with a thrill of horror that this soft living and high feeding was meant to make them better food for the monster. So he kept on his guard, although Minos treated the young prince with special honor, making him sit every day at his own table, where his eldest daughter served them as cupbearer, after the Cretan custom.
Now the Princess Ariadne —that was the maiden’s name— no sooner set eyes on the handsome young Athenian than pity filled her heart to think he must so shortly die a hideous death. That is to say, she thought at first it was pity, but before they had met many times she knew that it was love. Then she resolved to save him.
The first thing was to get speech with him alone, and this was not very difficult, though the palace was a nest of spies. For, as the princess knew, her father cared nothing how much she saw of his captive, though as a rule she was strictly guarded. He even told her to make much of the pretty lad and keep him in a good humor.
“You may be as kind as you choose!” he added, smiling grimly, “for dead men tell no tales.”
So on the eighth morning, Theseus was summoned by a slave to join the princess in her own garden of roses. And there, with downcast eyes and bated breath, Ariadne told her love, modestly yet proudly, as became her royalty — and that she had devised means to save him from imminent death.
“For tomorrow,” she said, “my father gives the Minotaur its first victim and that victim will be you. Theseus, if you die, I will die too. But do as I bid you and you shall slay the monster and escape to Athens with your comrades — and with me, unless you would leave me to endure my father’s vengeance.”
What could Theseus do but thank her with his whole heart and vow that, if indeed her plan succeeded, he would take her to Athens as his bride? Grateful he was, and well might be; and if he did not love the fair Cretan, who shall blame him for not feeling bound to tell her so at such a moment? I think he did not love her; her dark beauty was too strange, too barbaric to please Greek eyes; and he could not forget she came of evil race — child of Minos and of that Queen Pasiphaë whose nameless sin had brought a judgment upon her. Yet when he vowed that vow, he honestly meant to keep it…