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THE MINOTAUR

    Once the Minotaur decided to take its labyrinth with it wherever it went.
    Over the years it had grown attached to the maze. It wasn’t a place anyone would freely choose, there was no denying that. Who wouldn’t prefer to call almost any other place home rather than this dim prison of twists and turns? Who wouldn’t dream of breathing even the desert wind for a change instead of the dank odor of one’s own limits day after day?
    Nevertheless, the Minotaur had difficulty picturing itself anywhere else. All its memories were here. In the shadowy recesses of the labyrinth, they provided it with constant company. If it sank into melancholic torpor, they lightened its mood. Or if it grew too excited, they restored it to calm and discretion. Over the years, the Minotaur had come to rely on their comforting, faithful presence. And it kept faith with them in return.
    It did this despite the fact that it was seldom free of enticing visions of a world beyond the labyrinth. These visions wandered down the dim corridors and slipped in among the familiar company, danced their seductive dances, whispered in the Minotaur’s ear, urged it to follow them back out. They were as persistent as its more constant companions. And they filled the labyrinth with strange, intoxicating perfumes.
    One day the Minotaur, unable to resist the temptation any longer, rose to follow these visions back out of the maze and into their world. The way out was longer than it had imagined, but the closer it came to the exit, the more the visions beckoned it on. Whenever it stopped to catch its breath, its heart pounding in anticipation, they paused too and waited for it to catch up. And each time they disappeared around a turn, it could hear their voices drop a moment and then rise again as if to encourage it by shortening the distance that seemed to remain. Finally, on the threshold, they gestured one last time to the struggling, panting Minotaur and stepped out.
    When the Minotaur itself reached the opening and took in the broad vista stretching away in every direction, it stood in dazzled wonder at what it beheld. What could have prepared it for the lush possibilities waiting to be explored? And yet, for all the allure of the scene before it, the Minotaur hesitated to take the next step. Might all of this be merely an illusion? What if, once out of the maze, the Minotaur discovered a place unequal to the visions that had found their way down the endless turns and into its heart? A world less inspiring than their whispers. What then, with everything that would have been given up?
    Troubled by these doubts, the Minotaur made the only decision it thought it could. It hoisted the labyrinth onto its back and set off, prepared to exchange a lifetime of creeping snail-like over the landscape for the security of knowing it could always withdraw again if need be. 
    Always retreat and wait among its shadows for the visions to return.