Daedalus and Icarus
Daedalus was a descendant of Hephaestus in Greek mythology, and like Hephaestus, was a skilled architect, sculptor, craftsman, and inventor. His nephew Talus became his apprentice. When Talus invented the saw, Daedalus became jealous and killed him. After the incident, Daedalus left Athens and ran away to Crete, where he became a servant of King Minos and invented the Labyrinth for him (see The Minotaur).
When the great maze had been completed, Daedalus and his son, Icarus, were kept prisoner by King Minos so that they would not be able to tell anyone the secret of the Labyrinth. Daedalus refused to be contained and made wings from bird feathers and wax so he and his son Icarus could escape from the king. Icarus, ignoring his father’s advice, flew too close to the sun, melting his wings. He plunged into the sea and drowned.
Daedalus landed safely in Sicily, and entered the service of King Cocolus, where he began to create impressive toys for the King’s daughters.
Meanwhile, Minos was traveling around looking for him. He had with him a triton shell and some thread, declaring that he would reward anyone who could pull the thread through the shell. He knew that only Daedalus could perform such a feat. When news of this challenge reached King Cocalus’ ears, he instructed Daedalus to try to complete the seemingly impossible task. Daedalus succeeded by piercing a miniscule hole in the shell, filling it with honey, and sending an ant, harnessed to the linen thread, through the hole. The ant traveled throughout the shell’s many spirals, all the way to the opening of the shell. Minos then ordered Daedalus to surrender, but Daedalus and King Cocalus’ daughters gave Minos a gruesome death in a hot bathtub.
Daedalus may have existed, so cunning and skilled that his story was elaborated upon, but scholars are not certain.