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He told King Minos that he needed feathers and wax for a new invention that he was working on. When these were brought to him, he took them up onto the roof of the tower. Here he arranged them in four lines, starting with the smallest fathers, and following those with the longer ones, so that they formed gentle curves. Then he began to stick the feathers together with thread in the middle and wax at the base. While he was working, Icarus played with the wax, squashing it between his finger and thumb, and when the feathers blew away in the breeze he ran after them and caught them. When Daedalus had finished, he showed Icarus his work. He had made the feathers into two pairs of wings. He fastened the larger pair to his arms, and began to flap them until his feet took off from the floor and he began to hover in mid air. Icarus laughed with delight and could not wait to try out the smaller pair of wings. Over the next few days father and son both practised with them until little Icarus was almost as good at flying as his father.

Then one morning Deadalus said to Icarus: "Now Son, we are ready to leave this island for good. We shall fly home to Athens. But although you are now quite good at flying, you must not forget that it can be very dangerous. So listen to my instructions and be sure to follow then to the letter. At all times follow me, for I will find the way home. Do not veer off on a different flight path, or you will soon be lost. And do not fly too low, or your wings will fill with moisture from the waves and they will become too heavy you will sink down. Nor should you fly too high, or the sun will heat the wax and your wings will fall apart. Have you understood all that I have said!" Little Icarus nodded to show his father that he had understood. And then Daedalus led his son up onto the battlements of the tower, and like a bird leading her fledglings from the nest for the first time, he jumped into mid air and flapped his wings, and Icarus followed soon after. If a fisherman or a shepherd had looked up just then, he would have seen two very unusual birds hovering above the waves. No doubt he would have thought that they had caught sight of two winged gods : For who could have believed that a mortal father and son had mastered the art of flight?


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