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 her time came, Aethra brought forth a man child, lusty and fair, and his grandsire named him Theseus. Wherein, as some hold, Pittheus showed a divining mind, for the name means ‘He that sets in order’, and Theseus lived to set in good order the Athenian commonwealth. The boy was tenderly reared by his mother and taught all the wisdom of antiquity by his grandfather. When he was eighteen years old, Aethra led her son to the stone where the tokens lay and told him for the first time the story of his parentage. Easily did young Theseus lift the massy stone, and at his mother’s bidding he took the sword and sandals and set out forthwith for Athens to make himself known to his father.
Aethra would fain have had him go by sea, because the landward road was at that time beset at several points by certain notorious robbers, but Theseus, who burned to make proof of his manhood, laughed at her fears and on his journey along the coast road he encountered and killed three of those terrors to travelers. But a greater danger awaited him at Athens.
You have heard, Odysseus, of the great enchantress Medea —mine own kinswoman, for, like myself, she was descended from the Sun god— and how she revenged herself upon her faithless lover, Jason, who by her aid alone had escaped death and won the golden fleece. Now after her deed of vengeance, Medea fled to Athens, where her charm and subtle wit so wrought upon King Aegeus that he shortly married her. By her magic art, she knew at first sight that Theseus was coming, and, feeling all the jealous hate of a stepmother, she resolved to destroy him. So she warned Aegeus that, on the eighth day of that month, a stranger would enter his house, seeking hospitality, of whom he must beware, for that man was hired to murder him by certain pretenders to the Athenian throne.
Sure enough, on the eighth day, a stranger youth appeared; Aegeus welcomed him hospitably after his custom and gave him the seat of honor at his evening banquet. But he had ready beside him a cup of wine in which Medea had mingled a deadly poison, and this he was about to hand to his guest, when Theseus, by some divine prompting, unbuckled his sword for greater ease and laid it on the table. Aegeus no sooner beheld that token than he dashed the cup to the ground and embraced the youth with tears of joy, acknowledging him for his son and heir. As for Medea, she vanished that moment from the banqueting hall and was never more seen on earth. The Athenians say she flew away in a chariot drawn by two winged dragons, but whither she went they do not profess to know.