The Storyteller: Greek Myths (1990) s01e04 Episode Script

Daedalus & Icarus

1 Daedalus, the master who designed this Labyrinth whose mind produced these dizzy passages.
Daedalus, the genius who invented ships which could sail under the sea fireworks which would knock down a wall, lenses that set together could see as far as the stars, fantastic machines.
He fell so far.
He fell so far from grace, he finished a broken man.
Making the same little clay figure, over and over.
A child with wings.
A child with wings? Who was that? The one thing Daedalus made he had no control of.
The one thing he ever truly loved.
Icarus.
His son.
Sorry.
Daedalus, the greatest craftsman in Greece.
There was no one like him.
He was born in Athens.
Like us.
And he learnt the art of making from the goddess Athena herself.
But his greatest dream was to fly to soar through the clouds like a bird.
Is that why his son had wings? Did they both grow wings? No, no, they didn't.
Poor Icarus had nothing so graceful as wings.
Even his hands were awkward and clumsy.
Look.
Son, look.
Wonderful.
Gently.
You must handle things gently.
-I'm no good.
You think I'm no good.
-I don't think that at all.
You do, you think I'm clumsy.
I know you do.
I do not.
I think your brains must have run from your head.
Shake them back again.
That's better.
Stop it! He's clumsy, this Icarus.
He was clumsy.
But you know, he's only a boy.
Did he get better, more careful? Perhaps he would've done, I don't know.
Something happened.
Something happened which changed everything.
Another boy came into their lives.
A golden boy, kissed by the gods.
A nephew to Daedalus.
An apprentice.
What happened? -It's broken.
I broke it.
-It doesn't matter.
No, look.
If we lift the wing here, and pull this look, you can.
It will be all right, I think.
There.
The gods play with us.
Into Talos, his sister's boy, went all the joy of creation.
The keen eye, and the quick wit as if the two children had been born to the wrong parent for Talos was the kind of son Daedalus had dreamed of.
Uncle, what's this? A jawbone of a snake.
Why? What would happen if you cast this in metal? What? Daedalus watched the boy work, his brilliance, his curiosit the ideas pouring from him.
Daedalus watched all this and it was like a knife twisting in his heart.
Look, Uncle, look.
He's clever, isn't he? He really is.
And every day, Icarus seemed slower more clumsy, more dull against the bright star of his cousin.
Sometimes, in the evenings, Daedalus would climb up onto the roof the boys clambering after him.
And then they would look out over Athens and watch the birds.
And they looked hardest at the vultures, watched them glide, circle or just hang in the air.
I think what happens is, the wind goes over both sides of the wings.
And the back of the wings go up, and the air pushes the bird up.
-Can we go now? I'm hungry.
-No, stay a little longer.
Every time we look at a bird, or anything in nature, we're learning something.
Yes, but, I'm a bit bored.
Go on then, go down and have your supper.
-You, too, Nephew.
-No, I’d rather stay.
I’ll stay if you want.
No, don't worry.
I’ll stay, I’ll stay if you really want.
Just go! Look, it's landed.
When I look down from the sky, things are small.
I see fields of corn like raffia mats.
People shrink to the size of dolls.
-I see you hate your nephew.
-No.
Nothing.
Of course, he's everything you hoped for in your son and didn't get.
You hate him.
-I'd love to fly, wouldn't you? -Yes.
I dream about it.
Do you think it would be possible for us to fly? I think if you could make wings like a bird's.
Yes.
I’d like to try.
Is that like flying? Uncle, no, please.
Don't worry, I won't let you fall.
In fact, is there something my very, very clever nephew is frightened of? Hold on.
Please, please, help me! Talos fell twisting and turning like a starfish.
He fell so slowly through the air, it seemed to Daedalus he was falling forever.
That he was never going to land, that he was flying.
Then the ground reminded him.
It came to meet Talos and jolted him asleep.
What have I done? He killed him.
He killed that little boy.
He didn't mean to.
He did.
He didn't know what he was doing.
It was pain, it was pain.
It was his heart breaking.
He looked down on the boy's body if he could've thrown himself off in his place if he could've wound back those few seconds of madness but he couldn't.
He couldn't.
Son, wake up.
Wake up, we have to leave.
Quickly.
What's happening? -I can't explain.
I’ll explain later.
-Where is Talos? Is he coming? No.
Are you crying? Hurry.
And he picked him up and ran like a murderer from the city.
Father and son travelled through Greece.
Daedalus sold drawings, toys, hired himself out to petty kings and tyrants.
Squandered his genius on trifles.
And dreaded the nights, dreaded sleep.
His dreams full of falling, falling.
They never settled, always moving on always looking over their shoulder until one day, they set sail for the island of Crete.
And there, in exile the once great craftsman made children's toys and sold them in the marketplace of Knossos.
Off the went the little soldiers marching through the crowds and into the hands of a real soldier who carried them like precious jewels to his master Minos, King of Crete.
Daedalus? All of Greece knows that name.
Welcome.
What brings the great inventor to Crete, and in rags? Difficult times, Lord.
Certain disputes.
Travel.
This is my son.
I wanted him to see more than the olive groves of Athens.
Yes, yes, but difficult times? That's right.
I remember something about a talented boy who fell.
Is this right? He fell from the roof? Tragic.
I make no secret of my dislike for your city.
Accidents at Athens.
It was an accident? Are not my.
But I love this.
Clever.
If I wanted something made, something very, very clever might I interrupt your travels and bring you here? Suitably rewarded, of course.
Say no if.
I would not say no.
Really? That's.
I do love these.
I’d like.
Could they fight each other? Two armies.
Cretans and Athenians.
Wonderful.
No.
My problem is that I have a creature.
And I want to build it a cage.
A cage would not tax me, Lord.
It's a very special creature.
It requires a very special cage.
It's a curse on my family.
But I cannot kill it.
That is not to be.
And its hunger is for human flesh.
There must be no way out of its cage.
Use that clever brain to design something.
And people say Daedalus did use his brain for the maze he built to imprison the monster, the Minotaur was designed like the brain itself.
And 1,000 years later, it still stands here.
So was Minos pleased? Minos was cruel.
Minos had two secrets.
Who the Minotaur was, and how to get out of the Labyrinth.
Now Daedalus knew both of them.
When the monster was taken into its new prison Daedalus and Icarus were locked in with it.
Down there somewhere.
In the heart of the Labyrinth.
Father, hurry, please.
Hurry! Three to the left.
Thirty, thirty-one two, three thirty-five.
Father, please, it's catching us! The Labyrinth is full of signs, tricks, and illusions.
It can be read like a book.
Do you know the only person able to read that book? Me.
And with the monster almost upon them Daedalus struck the wall with the palm of his hand.
A door opened and the ran ran for their lives.
Daedalus and Icarus, they had escaped from the Labyrinth and the murderous charge of the Minotaur.
But now what? The ports of Crete were heavily guarded.
If they were seen, they would certainly be killed.
They were marooned on this cruel island.
Look.
I can leave whenever I like.
I stretch my wings.
Don't you think they're well-designed? Could we fly like Talos said? Talos is dead.
How did he fall, Father? You killed him.
No, no! Father.
It was a game.
We were playing at flying-- You killed him.
And in his rage Daedalus flung his blanket over the bird.
Father! The struggled and fought until there was a terrible crack and the great bird's neck snapped.
Now your brothers will come for you.
And we'll have feathers enough, and wings enough.
Father.
Wings of our own.
Do you hear me, Son? Wings of our own! We will fly! Love him, Daedalus, love him to death.
The next morning Daedalus trapped more birds and stole their feathers found a swarm of bees and stole their hive.
He stuck the feathers to spines of wood with beeswax molding each feather tip perfectly together carefully coping the wings.
More feathers, Father.
-Leave it.
Leave them.
-I'm sorry, I was only trying to help.
Yes, but, it's too important.
-If it weren't so important-- -If I weren't so clumsy.
lf I was Talos.
Now, my son please, please, listen to me carefully.
You always think I’m not listening, but I am, I really am.
Fly behind me and keep close.
Don't fly too high or too low.
If you fly too low, the sea spray will weigh down the feathers.
If you fly too high the sun will melt the wax.
-What did I say? -If I fly too high, the sun will melt the wax.
You're squeezing me.
We're not saying goodbye, are we? Daedalus clung to his son on the hill.
Then he kissed Icarus and it seemed as if some great bird was feeding its chick, mouth to mouth as birds do.
Or that Daedalus was willing his knowledge into his clumsy son.
Then the turned and ran to the cliff edge and up, out, and away.
Awa from the lands controlled by Minos.
Fling! I’m flying, I’m flying! Stay close.
Not too low.
Not too high.
Stay close.
But Icarus did not stay close.
As the earth shrank beneath him, he beat on up, past clouds, past listening past promises.
Icarus flew on alone higher, and higher, and higher.
Towards the sun.
And bead by golden bead the wax started to melt.
Father, please, help! Icarus! Father, please, help! Too late.
Icarus fell.
Fell, down and down, into the sea that bears his name.
Icarus! He died? -He died.
-That's terrible.
Why did he fly too high? He promised he wouldn't fly too high.
I think when Talos dropped from the sad heights above Athens Icarus was already falling.
As if a single thread held them all together.
Talos fell, Icarus fell Daedalus fell.
I curse my skill.
I curse Minos.
Tyrant! I curse you, you killed my boy.
I curse the very birds of the air who tempt us.
I curse the sea's cruel kisses.
My son.
My son.
And Daedalus buried his dead child in the sand.
Buried hope and laughter and joy.
Laid the clumsy fingers in the ground, placed an obol in the foolish mouth kissed the cold forehead.
And then Daedalus flew, his tears falling from the sky like rain away from Crete, away from danger, away from grief northwest to Sicily, and to King Cocalus.
Cocalus was pleased to welcome such a craftsman.
And Daedalus set to work again.
But as well as building ships and machines, this time he started to make models.
Tiny figures of a winged boy.
He blamed himself, didn't he? Daedalus, he blamed himself for everything.
Yes.
He would catch himself at his worktable, in the middle of something quite ordinary gluing a joint, sharpening a tool, with tears falling.
Only children could reach him.
The kind king had two daughters.
And when they came to visit his workshop people said it was the only time the great artist smiled.
I’m so tired.
I’m going to sit down.
I have had such a nice meal, I’m going to burp.
Now I’m going to have a sleep.
You're so clever.
Am l? That's funny.
A flying boy.
Yes, it is funny, isn't it? I had a little boy.
But he died.
And it was my fault.
Not so very clever, after all.
Not just my fault.
There was a cruel king, too.
A vile tyrant.
There was unfinished business between Daedalus and Minos.
Daedalus blamed Minos for the death of his son.
Minos wanted Daedalus dead, too.
He knew too many secrets.
Minos would not rest until he found him.
He brooded on ways to tempt Daedalus from his hiding.
He took this shell from kingdom to kingdom.
Put your ear to that.
-No, it might be dirty.
-Put your ear to it.
I am Minos, Lord of Crete Emperor of Knossos ruler of all the seas between Greece and Egypt.
This is a triton shell.
Hundreds and thousands of tiny passages.
This is a fine thread from the dress of my queen, Queen Pasiphaë.
If anyone can pass the thread through the shell this treasure is theirs.
Nature makes such clever things.
Where are you going? When I was in Crete I designed a prison for King Minos, like a maze.
This shell is like a maze.
-That's honey.
-That's right.
Ants like sweet things.
What are you doing? If he doesn't have his thread, he'll never be able to find his way back.
Now, in you go.
Breakfast.
The reward is yours, King Cocalus.
Clever.
There is only one man in Greece who could do this.
The man who designed the Labyrinth of Knossos who killed his nephew.
The wandering genius, Daedalus.
The man who can fly.
Where is he? There are 12 ships in the harbour, armed and ready to fight with weapons fashioned by your engineer.
Give him up to me.
Is King Minos taking you away? Yes.
We don't want him to.
What will he do to you? I am King Minos.
I silence mouths that speak.
I blind eyes that see.
I execute enemies.
Oh, no.
Was he killed? Did Minos have him killed? He planned to.
He took a bath before the feast smug at his skill in luring Daedalus from hiding planning the execution.
But as Minos lay there, the steam surrounding him in a bath Daedalus had designed, Daedalus made his own plans.
And he was the master of plans.
I bet this involves a really clever machine.
No.
No machines.
Just water.
Water heated in a caldron, over a fire.
Daedalus had designed the bathhouse.
He knew ever pipe and channel, ever sluice and drain.
When the water in the caldron was boiling he emptied it into the pipes.
He boiled him? Water took his son from him.
Water killed the king.
But there's no peace in vengeance, no rest in revenge.
Daedalus survived.
But sometimes he wished he hadn't.
Sometimes, as he sat in his workshop, day upon day staring at nothing he wished he'd gone back to Crete and a quick death not the slow ding inside.
Daedalus.
The man who could make anything, except a way to turn back time a way to change the past a way to turn solid stone into flesh.
Look.
Look.