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Minos’ Unmasquerade

by Tala Bar

“No,” said the Minotaur, “I don’t fancy going to a masquerade. It’s not as if this is a mask — don’t forget I was born like this.”

“Forget!” exclaimed his mother, “how can I forget the trouble I had having you, with those big horns on your head! Still,” she added with some pondering, a faint happy smile hovering on her full lips, “it was almost worth it, remembering the heavenly pleasure I had conceiving you, with that bull Poseidon had sent me... But then that bastard has always known what he was about with women and their sexual hankerings... Look at that mare, Demeter, and what he did to her!”

She sighed. “Ah, well, I just wanted to know if Minos can use that fantastic bull’s mask Daedalus has made for him — he is dying to wear it for the dance, but he could never compete with your natural one, could he?”

“Well, have fun, then,” the Minotaur said and turned away from Queen Pasiphae to the fresh pile of hay, which had just been put in front of him, starting munching with relish.

The dancing Masquerade, that took place on the wide plaza in front of the royal palace in Knossos, was a great success, and Minos won first prize, as befitting Daedalus’ workmanship. At the darkest hour of night, just before dawn, as the King and Queen were just saying their goodbyes to the last guests and turning to go back into the Palace, a spear come flying by and hit Minos in the chest. As he was falling to the dance floor, the great bull’s mask shifted off his head, revealing his face.

“Oops!” A young man approached from the side of the plaza, looking rather apologetic as he bent down to retrieve his spear. “Who is this, then?” he asked in a confused tone of voice.

“Don’t you know the King? You’ve just killed Minos of Crete, you idiot!” said Pasiphae as she kneeled beside her dying husband.

“Well,” said young Theseus, “He’s not my king — I come from Athens. But he did look like the Minotaur in that headdress, and you know I was destined to kill that one, don’t you?”

Copyright © 2005 by Tala Bar

Ed. note: A related article of Tala Bar’s, “Beauty and the Beast,” appears in this issue.

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