Hellen, Deucalion’s second son, finding Thessaly too small to give homes to all the people, went southward with a band of hardy followers, and settled in another part of the country which we call Greece, but which was then, in honor of him, called Hellas, while his people were called Hellenes, or subjects of Hellen.
When Hellen died, he left his kingdom to his three sons, Dorus, Aeolus, and Xuthus. Instead of dividing their father’s lands fairly, the eldest two sons quarreled with the youngest, and finally drove him away. Homeless and poor, Xuthus now went to Athens, where he was warmly welcomed by the king, who not only treated him very kindly, but also gave him his daughter in marriage, and promised that he should inherit the throne.
This promise was duly kept, and Xuthus the exile ruled over Athens. When he died, he left the crown to his sons, Ion and Achaeus.
As the Athenians had gradually increased in number until their territory was too small to afford a living to all the inhabitants, Ion and Achaeus, even in their father’s lifetime, led some of their followers along the Isthmus of Corinth, and down into the peninsula, where they founded two flourishing states, called, after them, Achaia and Ionia. Thus, while northern Greece was pretty equally divided between the Dorians and Aeolians, descendants and subjects of Dorus and Aeolus, the peninsula was almost entirely in the hands of the Ionians and Achaeans, who built towns, cultivated the soil, and became bold navigators. They ventured farther and farther out at sea, until they were familiar with all the neighboring bays and islands.
Sailing thus from place to place, the Hellenes came at last to Crete, a large island south of Greece. This island was then governed by a very wise king called Minos. The laws of this monarch were so just that all the Greeks admired them very much. When he died, they even declared that the gods had called him away to judge the dead in Hades, and to decide what punishments and rewards the spirits deserved.
Although Minos was very wise, he had a subject named Daedalus who was even wiser than he. This man not only invented the saw and the potter’s wheel, but also taught the people how to rig sails for their vessels.
As nothing but oars and paddles had hitherto been used to propel ships, this last invention seemed very wonderful; and, to compliment Daedalus, the people declared that he had given their vessels wings, and had thus enabled them to fly over the seas.
Many years after, when sails were so common that they ceased to excite any wonder, the people, forgetting that these were the wings which Daedalus had made, invented a wonderful story, which runs as follows.
Minos, King of Crete, once sent for Daedalus, and bade him build a maze, or labyrinth, with so many rooms and winding halls, that no one, once in it, could ever find his way out again.