The craftsman Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned by King Minos on the island of Crete. Though they had everything they could possibly need on the island, Daedalus missed his home in Athens and wanted badly to return there. He was desperate to escape, but King Minos controlled all the ships that sailed from Crete.
One day, as Daedalus watched the sea birds dip and soar outside his window, it occurred to him that with wings, he and his son might fly away. So, he set to work building a wooden frame. Next he made wings by tying feathers together and securing them to the frame with wax and string. Next he tied the wings to his body, jumped into the air and flapped his arms. They worked – he could fly! Excited, he fashioned a second pair for Icarus and taught the boy to fly as well.
Icarus and Daedalus practiced until they felt ready to escape. On the morning of their departure, Daedalus gave this advice to his son:
“You are not like the seabirds. You must not go too high or too low. For if you fly too high the sun’s heat will melt your wings and they will fall apart. And if you fly too low the water will dampen your feathers and pull you into the sea. You must take care to follow a middle course.”
Icarus nodded in agreement and together Icarus and Daedalus hiked to the top of a high cliff that jutted out over the ocean. With their wings strapped to their backs, they ran forward, flapped their arms and jumped out over the sea. Soon they swooped and soared over the ocean like birds. So elated was Icarus with the sensation of flying that he forgot his father’s cautionary words and flew higher and higher. The wax on his wings softened, the feathers fell out, and Icarus plunged into the sea and drowned.
Sound bleak? Perhaps, but I don’t necessarily think so. Here’s why I named my blog after the myth.