Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Theseus the Cheater

“Tell me a good one, Grandpa!”

“I’ve got a good one. So King Minos, fearing Theseus would take his throne, sent him into the Labyrinth. This was a giant underground maze, dark and so convoluted that no one had ever gotten out. Therein dwelled the Minotaur, the king’s deformed son, who was half-man and half-bull. It was giant and famous for devouring anyone who was trapped in the Labyrinth. No one was allowed to leave without slaying the monster.”


“Theseus promised to slay the monster and return alive. Minos’s daughter, Ariadne, fell in love with his bravery and gave him a spool of thread so that he could follow it back after he fought the Minotaur.”

“That’s a little less awesome, but still, does he fight him?”

“He came prepared. Though all were to face the Minotaur unarmed, Theseus smuggled a sword in under his tunic.”

“That wasn’t cheating?”

“It was a very large monster.”


“Theseus crept around the dark the hours, leaving his trail of thread behind. Eventually he heard the clopping of the Minotaur’s hooves. They shook the maze around him.”

“That must have been scary!”

“He stalked the monster for a time, not attacking it right away. Instead he allowed it to tire and go to sleep.”

“Go to sleep? It sleeps?”

“Not for much longer. Once the Minotaur began to snore, Theseus slit its throat with his sword and took off the head as proof that he had won the battle.”

“Won the what? He didn’t even fight it! He cheated it with an illegal weapon when it was bed time!”

“It was a very large monster.”

“Then don’t fight it!”

“He had to fight it. The princess was counting on him. So he took his spool—”

“He didn’t even find his way back out! He cheated again! Did Minos lock the door and punish him for breaking the rules?”

“No, Theseus returned triumphant and escaped with Ariadne, making back off to sea. He was heralded as one of the great men of the ancient world.”

“All for a girl?”

“Actually, next he abandoned her on an island.”

“He ditches the girl? What the hell, Grandpa?”

“Well Ariadne was a witch.”

“Yeah? A dumb witch that falls in love with cheaters.”

“She cast a spell on his ship.”

“What spell?”

“Well Theseus’s father had a deal with him. If he was successful with Minos, he should sail back with a white sail. But Ariadne used her magic to turn it black. So Theseus’s father jumped into the sea and killed himself in grief.”

“That’s kind of cool. Did she ever get revenge on Theseus, though? He was the jerk.”

“No, but I think we’re going to talk about Medea tomorrow night.”


  1. Love the re-imagining of the Greek myths. 'Medea' was one of my favourite tragedies when I was studying.
    Love the kid's perspective. So truthful and honest.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  2. all that for a GIRL!! wicked fun and well spun John.

  3. Excellent perspective on a myth! Love this.

  4. "...He cheated it with an illegal weapon when it was bed time!”

    Hahaha, I like the tyke's take on the tale.

  5. Too funny! Great look at the myth. Though I see the fight with the minotaur a bit different--he wasn't cheating, he was just trying a bit extra. 'Cuz c'mon. If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying.

  6. Love the way the dad laid the facts bare. Good one, John.

  7. John only yuor mind would come up with "He cheated it with an illegal weapon when it was bed time!"

    This is so fun. I want to read more. ;-)

  8. This cracked me up! It kinds of has a Princess Bride sort of feel to it. Great job, John.

  9. That was awesome. So many of the Greek heroes were royal bastards. Out of the mouths of babes though; Right?

    Nicely done!

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  11. Hmm I always found it depressing how few lives of Greek heroes ever turned out well. In the next story they were usually murdered or killed or cursed or some such.

  12. Classical mythology is full of that sort of...ingenuity.

    Also, I want this acted by Peter Falk and Fred Savage, circa 1987. Great dialogue.


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