And he reminded his father of how the people had complained, saying that if Ægeus had done the duty of a king, Minos's son would not have been slain and the tribute to the Minotaur would have not been demanded. It was the passing about of such complaints that had led to the war and troubles that Theseus found on his coming to Athens.
'I have heard or read, so ran the passage, 'whether in the way of Parable or true Relation I leave my Reader to judge, of a Man who, like Theseus, in the Attick Tale, should adventure himself, into a Labyrinth or Maze: and such an one indeed as was not laid out in the Fashion of our Topiary artists of this Age, but of a wide compass, in which, moreover, such unknown Pitfalls and Snares, nay, such ill-omened Inhabitants were commonly thought to lurk as could only be encountered at the Hazard of one's very life.
By steadily grasping this inestimable clew, rendered still more precious by the beauty of the donor, man can never be led astray will never ramble out of his course; but if, careless of its invaluable properties, for a single instant he suffers it to drop from his hand; if, like another Theseus, ungrateful for the favour, he abandons the fair bestower, he will infallibly fall again into his ancient wanderings; most assuredly become the prey to the cannibal offspring of the White Bull.
Theseus and Jason were among them; and Amnon, the abuser of Tamar; and he that disturbed the old kingdom of Latinus. Astolfo would fain have gone deeper into the jaws of Hell, but the smoke grew so thick and palpable, it was impossible to move a step farther.
A thunderstorm is heard approaching; the Chorus are terrified at its intensity, but Oedipus eagerly dispatches a messenger for Theseus. When the King arrives he hears the secret; Oedipus' grave would be the eternal protection of Attica, but no man must know its site save Theseus who has to tell it to his heir alone, and he to his son, and so onwards for ever.
And Theseus, as he leaned on his sword, taking breath, felt another twitch of the silken cord; for all through the terrible encounter, he had held it fast in his left hand. Eager to let Ariadne know of his success, he followed the guidance of the thread, and soon found himself at the entrance of the labyrinth. "Thou hast slain the monster," cried Ariadne, clasping her hands.
"Oh, but bring me my sword, princess," cried Theseus, and his hands went out to her in supplication. "I will bring you your sword," said she. She took up a little lamp and went through a doorway, leaving Theseus standing by the low throne in the chamber of Minos. Then after a little while she came back, bringing with her Theseus's great ivory-hilted sword.
Farther yet designing to enlarge his city, he invited all strangers to come and enjoy equal privileges with the natives, and it is said that the common form, Come hither all ye people, was the words that Theseus proclaimed when he thus set up a commonwealth, in a manner, for all nations.
His fame traveled faster than he did, and reached Athens before him. As he entered the city, he heard the inhabitants talking at the street corners, and saying that Hercules was brave, and Jason too, and Castor and Pollux likewise, but that Theseus, the son of their own king, would turn out as great a hero as the best of them.
The Thebans persisting in their refusal to permit burial, Theseus at length led an army against them, defeated them in the field, and forced them to consent that their fallen foes should be interred, that last privilege of the dead which was deemed so essential by all pious Greeks. The tomb of the chieftains was shown near Eleusis within late historical times.