The island of Crete was ruled by King Minos, and near the palace of King Minos was a huge maze, called a labyrinth, which Minos had built in order to contain the Minotaur, a monster who was half-human and half-bull. The Minotaur liked to feed on human sacrifices, so every seven years King Minos sent seven young men and seven young women into the labyrinth to appease the monster.
Finally, a brave hero named Theseus decided that someone had to put a stop to all this. He volunteered to be one of the human sacrifices, planning to do battle with the Minotaur inside the labyrinth. Theseus was confident that he could defeat the monster, but he did not know how to defeat the labyrinth. The twists and turns of the maze were so confusing that he was afraid he would never find his way back out.
Meanwhile, King Minos' daughter Ariadne was madly in love with Theseus. "My dear Theseus," she said to him, "I can help lead you out of the labyrinth if you want." Theseus promised her his undying love if only she would help him. Ariadne was delighted and explained her plan to Theseus. "I will hold this ball of yarn in my hands," she said, "and you will tie the end of the yarn to your belt. After you defeat the Minotaur, you can then follow the yarn to retrace your steps and escape from the labyrinth."
Ariadne's plan worked! Theseus entered into the labyrinth with the other sacrificial victims, and the Minotaur attacked them when they reached the heart of the labyrinth. Theseus did battle with the Minotaur and finally slew him. Then, holding tight to Ariadne's thread, he returned into the light, leading his companions with him to safety.