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Year 3 Language and Literature

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Daedalus and Icarus - A Myth from Ancient Greece

daedalus and icarus

As we read in the ancient Greek myth 'Theseus and the Minotaur' in Year 3, the master inventor Daedalus designed the Labyrinth for King Minos. Daedalus also showed Ariadne how Theseus could escape from the Labyrinth. When King Minos found this out, he was so angry that he threw Daedalus in the Labyrinth, along with his young son, Icarus [IK-ar-us]. Not even the man who invented the Labyrinth could find his way out of it. He had no ball of string to help him! Would the father and son die there? No – for when Daedalus saw the seagulls flying overhead, he got an idea.

Little by little, he gathered many feathers. He fastened them together with wax, and so made two pairs of wings like those of a bird. He put one pair on himself and the other pair on Icarus. He showed his son how to move his arms and catch the wind with his wings.

'Now, son,' he said, 'let us fly away from here. But listen carefully. Do not fly too high, or you will get too close to the sun and the wax on your wings will melt.'

Daedalus and Icarus flew up out of the Labyrinth, over the sea and away from the island of Crete. 'Oh,' cried Icarus, 'it's wonderful to be free and flying through the air!'

'Yes,' said Daedalus, 'but do not fly too close to the sun.'

A puff of wind lifted Icarus up. He was so excited that he forgot what his father told him. Higher and higher he flew, toward the highest heavens. The warm sun began to melt the wax and, one by one, the feathers fell from his wings. Then down, down, down fell Icarus into the sea. Daedalus cried out in grief as he saw the waters close over his son far below.


This activity is from page 76 of What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here. This activity has cross-curricular connections: click below to see the related activities.

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