Saturday, 14 November 2009


Daedalus stood on the crag gazing up at the night sky. His eyes followed the patterns of the constellations. He could read the stars, as easily as he could read the hieroglyphics on a parchment, or the engravings on a clay tablet. The stars told him that the god was brooding; angry with a powerful mortal. The stars also told him that one day, in another time, he would be hailed as the greatest inventor the world had ever seen. With that he was content.

The sea below, was stormy; ink black. It roared at him. He murmured an incantation of thanks to the god and spilled dark red wine on the granite, as a libation. He inhaled the fragrance of the wine. It was good wine; the god would be pleased. The sweet, stickiness trickled into rivulets in the cracked rock, creating a delightfully unexpected treat for an army of ants. Daedalus smiled; he didn’t begrudge the tiny creatures their feast. He didn’t think the god would either. The god had favoured him, bringing him safely to this island called Crete, and placing him under the protection of King Minos. He had left Athens, his home; a jealous murderer, his reputation tainted. He was never to return. Here, he had the respect of the King of Crete.

Gasping for breath; the air rasping, hot, scorching my lungs. Terror weighs down my limbs. Running helplessly, naked across the wet sand, my breasts flapping and bouncing, the crashing sea to my right, steep cliffs to the left. The moon, ‘Far Winged Selene,’ hanging in the night sky, pale and remote. Almost disinterested, only vaguely watchful, observing dispassionately the shocking drama being played out before her. I plead with her; but she does nothing. Does she just want to see what was going to happen?

My heartbeat pounds frantic and terrible. The pain in my chest is tremendous, searing; and still I run. My legs are weak as I sob, stumbling from the pursuing bull. Hoof beats, like drum beats yammering on the damp sand. The roaring in my head, echoing the roaring sea and the roaring bull as he closes in. Stumbling. Breath burning, as I suck air into my lungs. Tasting my own fear; it tastes of violation and death. I had seen what the beast had, as he had appeared, roaring from the waves. I know what he wants. The beast is almost on me. He bellows his fury and his triumph. I try to scream, but no sound comes.

His slobbering, burning breath on my neck. I sob. Snot drooling from my nose. My mouth hanging slack, saliva dribbling. My cheeks are wet with tears. I know what the beast wants. Rape; violation; obscenity. A heinous crime. This terrible thing cannot happen. Must not happen. I fall pitching forward and at last loosen a scream from my parched throat.

The two handmaidens struggled to hold Queen Pasiphae down. She writhed, cursed, snarled and gnashed her teeth, like a wild beast. Sweat matted her beautiful pale hair, turning it the colour of dirty metal. A cool breeze drifted through the apartments, yet Queen Pasiphae was feverish and overheated.

A third handmaiden tried to sooth her mistress, wiping her forehead and temples with cool rosewater. But her lady would not keep still, pitching forward, and landing a blow high on the girl’s cheekbone.

A night bird screeched in the palace gardens, yet it could barely be heard above the Queen’s ravings.

The Queen retched and a stream of black vomit poured from her mouth. When she was spent, she sobbed that the beast had defiled her and she was rotting inside.
It was the third night in a row that the Queen had woken them, with the shrieking screams of her dark dreams and her mad visions. Surely it was an omen? A torment from the gods. An unintended insult or slight, against one of the mighty immortals could provoke them. Everyone knew that the gods could be cruel and would not tolerate transgressions.

These things Kia, the Queen’s handmaiden thought, as she quieted her mistress. Kia could read dreams and the reoccurring dream that Queen Pasiphae had whispered fearfully to her, left Kia uneasy. The mighty, white bull that the Queen had seen, crashing from the sea, was an angered god. In the dream the bull had plunged after her, the Queen had run in terror from him, waking herself with her screams, just as he leapt on her to rape.

The nature of the gods, had always puzzled Kia, ever since she was a small child. Everyone knew that the gods could torment a man, or bestow gifts on another, for no apparent reason. Sometimes the gods would inflict pain on a man, just for their own amusement. Or to settle a score with another god, who had favoured a particular mortal. The gods were jealous, and fickle.
Even Kings and Queens were beneath the gods. And perhaps those in high places were of more interest to those celestial beings. In instances where the correct protocol was not observed; it was a well known fact that the neglect would be enough to incur a god’s wrath. And the gossip whispered around the palace, was that King Minos had refused to sacrifice the beautiful white bull; the bull that had been a gift from the god Poseidon to the King. Minos had kept the bull for his own herd, sacrificing an inferior creature to Poseidon instead. The god had been insulted, and there would surely be a price to pay.

Besides, Kia had seen a black raven each day for the last three days. The raven had seen her too, and had screeched obscenities at her. Everyone knew that to see a raven was bad luck. But to see the same bird thrice, gave Kia a deep feeling of foreboding. Each time she had seen it, she had spat three times on the palm of her hand, to ward off the evil eye and cancel out the curse.
Meanwhile, Kia wiped the sweat from the Queen’s body, and murmured soft, soothing words. When her Mistress was finally calm, Kia warmed a cup of sweet, red wine, and stirred in a strong draught of poppy. There would be no more dark dreams tonight. Queen Pasiphae would sleep well into the morning.

It took six of the strongest men to lead the magnificent, white bull into the field of heifers. The bull had scented the heifers heat on the soft warm breeze, and plunged and bucked, desperate to reach them. The dust and dirt that the bull’s mighty hooves threw up, clouded the hot air. The men strained and struggled in the hot, dazzling sunlight. Grit got in their eyes. Sweat poured over muscled chests, arms and legs. King Minos had refused to have the bull nose ringed, so dealing with the creature took brute strength and strong nerves. The heifers in the field bellowed their fear and need. They knew what was coming and were panic stricken. White juices stained their hindquarters, signifying their readiness. It would be their first mating and they would throw fine calves the next spring.

The peace of the glistening morning had been shattered by the riot of sheer masculinity.
One of the handlers, a fine, strong young man from the south of the island, stumbled and lost his footing. He was the Cretan ideal of male beauty; broad of chest and narrow waisted. A sideways kick from the bull’s massive hoof sent him spinning to the ground. The angry bull reared, roaring and took a step sideways. The strong, dark haired young man shrieked his agony, as the bull’s cloven hoof trampled him and crushed his testicles. One moment, a strong, virile man. The next, a ruined eunuch, writhing in the dust. It was a castration. The crushed ball sacs, spilled blood and the seed that had made him a man, running into the dirt. The mighty bull snorted his triumph, and his fury. The young man’s ruined sex a fine tribute to the god.

The remaining handlers released the ropes, and the bull charged, snorting and bellowing, across the open field, launching himself, onto the first available heifer.

Later, in the cool of the evening, just before Helios slipped beneath the horizon, when the shadows were lengthening, the men would whisper softly, as they gathered in the stable courtyard, beneath the mulberry tree, draining cups of sweet red wine. They would tell of how they had heard the god order the sacrifice of a virile man. They would glance nervously over their shoulders, hearing the bull bellowing as he raped his wives.

Kia watched her mistress watching the bull mating. Kia thought the Queen’s interest unnatural and unhealthy. Queen Pasiphae, stood at her apartment window, her full lips parted, her pupils dilated. She swayed slightly, lost in a trance. Her pelvis pumped rhythmically, in time with the bull’s thrusts. A low, rumbling growl came from deep in her throat.

Queen Pasiphae wore the traditional garments of a priestess to the goddess. A full flounced skirt and a laced bodice top, exposing her beautiful breasts. Kia gasped and blushed, as the Queen stooped and raising her skirts, fingered herself to orgasm.

The Queen’s obscene act, nauseated Kia. It was not in keeping with her status as Queen and High Priestess. Dressed as she was, in the garb of a Minoan Priestess, her erect nipples tinted gold, the act seemed even more lewd. Like a blasphemy to the goddess. Or perhaps, Kia thought, the climax was an offering to the goddess. As she had observed before, if the ways of the immortals were strange to her; so were the ways of Kings and Queens.
Kia knew that Queen Pasiphae was highly sexed, and that she was dissatisfied with her husband’s performance in the marriage bed. She also knew that her Mistress regularly used an olisbos on herself. A carved, wooden thing, shaped like a man’s erect cock, which she lubricated with olive oil. She would visit her husband’s apartments regularly, each evening, after oblations to the goddess had been observed. The Queen was irked with her husband, because she had not yet conceived, even though their wedding had been two years since.

Indeed, others had noticed this fact, and there was talk that King Minos could not perform for his young wife; or that if he could, that his seed was dead. Lewd jokes about impotency, were already being whispered around the palace.

Kia watched as the Queen fingered her genitals and brought herself to another crashing, fainting climax. Kia went to her Mistress and raised her head, bringing to her lips a cup of cool water. She noticed an unpleasant odour coming from the Queen and she wrinkled her nose, trying to raise from her memory where she had smelt that animalistic, meaty smell before.
Slowly, the Queen roused herself from her faint, and Kia retched her disgust as her lady panted her terrible, desire to her.

I had to do this thing. I had to have him. The need was overwhelming. Each night, after the Kings’ pathetic attempt at lovemaking, I would return to my apartments and after locking the doors, I would oil the olisbos and stuff myself. I was rough and crude and when I came, I would bleed, but it was nothing to what would happen when he finally fucked me. I knew that such a coupling could damage me, even kill me. But I didn’t care. I had to have the white bull. The god had demanded it and I could hear my new husband bellowing for me, in the fields beneath my window… And so I told Daedalus.

Daedalus, made his way to the Queen’s royal apartments. He took long strides along the dark corridors. It was cool in the palace; the marble flooring cold beneath the soles of his bare feet and he relished the sensation. He spent far too many hours, sweltering in his stifling workshop. He was making plans to build a workshop made of marble, where he could work in some degree of comfort. He hunched his broad shoulders, realising how out of condition he was. He was already out of breath, just after a short walk. Too many hours spent peering over parchments and not enough time spent swimming and wrestling.

Daedalus frowned. He had never been summoned to attend Queen Pasiphae before and he was curious. It was not unusual for him to spend time with King Minos; designing and drawing the King’s request for new inventions. Sometimes King Minos’ ideas were impossible, such as when he had wanted to be able to walk on water. But at other times he and the King had shared ideas and Daedalus had been able to bring them to fruition. Ideas like the double headed axe, which had been his first gift to the King. Following that, Daedalus had invented carpentry, using tools like the saw and the plumb line. He had brought plumbing and drainage systems to the palace and had redesigned and rebuilt Minos’ fleet of ships; now they were speedier. For the first time, sails, the prow and the mast were used. A fleet to be proud of. The King loved to watch his ships gliding effortlessly across the blue sea. With faster ships, the King’s fleet had rid the surrounding seas of piracy. To show his gratitude to the inventor, he had showered riches onto him. Neither was Daedalus ever short of women; the King saw to that too. But Daedalus wasn’t interested, in fucking them. He liked to see their lovely mouths stretched tightly around his thick cock. But most of all, Daedalus was a voyeur; he liked to watch.

He hadn’t needed to stretch his creative mind to indulge his voyeurism. He had simply removed a knot in the wood of a stable partition, where he could watch his workers fucking the women he passed on to them. That was what delighted Daedalus; the beautiful sight of a youth’s arse pumping, between a pair of plump splayed thighs. Or a maiden kneeling before his apprentice, his cock pounding into her throat. He would masturbate to the rhythm of their fucking and challenge himself to come at the same time as the amorous couple.
The stench hit him as soon as Daedalus was admitted to the Queen’s royal apartments. The familiar stink of a cow in heat. The Queen stood before him and he bowed down low to her; but judging from the agonised grimace on her face, observing royal protocol was not on her agenda.
The Queen was a young woman, but she looked gaunt; haggard. She was holding herself strangely. Her head was thrust forward, elongating her neck. Her back was arched, pushing her belly outwards. She paced continually. To Daedalus she had the look of a frustrated animal about her.

At last she spoke and Daedalus was shocked at her frankness. Not at what she wanted him to do for her. He had seen men fuck animals before, but never a woman.

The Queen wanted the magnificent white bull. She wanted to mate with it. She maintained her dignity throughout the interview; but still pacing, still panting. She spoke her instructions clearly to Daedalus, as if she were simply giving him orders to carve her a new throne.

Was the Queen mad? Daedalus didn’t think so. Everything suddenly was clear to him; the signs he had seen in the constellations. The white bull, that Minos should have sacrificed to Poseidon, still ran free and was at this moment copulating with his wives. The god was insulted. This was the powerful mortal that had angered the god. This was his revenge. Besides, Helios, the sun, was in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. The story was already written in the skies. In humiliating the Queen, the god would humiliate her husband. People would wonder about Minos’ manhood, once they knew that the Queen had fucked with an animal. The whole of this small island would know that the King was a fool. The story would travel across the seas. History would tell of King Minos as a cuckold.

Queen Pasiphae had even made drawings on parchment, of the type of construction she wanted Daedalus to build for her. He was impressed; she had approach the matter of construction intelligently.

She realised that if the bull were to mount her, he would kill her. The bull would crush her to death. She wanted him to build her a hollow cow. Something that she could crawl inside and something that would take the bull’s mighty weight. Her cunt would be exposed and somehow, Daedalus was to convince the bull that she was a cow, and the bull would copulate with her.
Daedalus reasoned with her. Had she realised the size of the bull’s erect penis? Would she be able to accommodate him? Didn’t she realise that he could split her in two?

But the Queen countered those questions. She had thought of all of those things. If it was the god’s will that she should die in that way, then so be it.

Then he told her that the King must be informed. Daedalus was, after all, the King’s guest at Knossos. It seemed wrong to actively help the Queen in an unnatural act of adultery, without seeking the King’s permission.

Then Daedalus surprised himself at his boldness. Their dialogue had aroused him. And he could smell the odour of the Queen’s arousal. His cock was erect. He lifted his tunic and exposed himself to the Queen. Let her see, he thought. What could she do? She needed him. He stroked his cock, pumping slowly. All the time watching the Queen’s face.

And so I saw what I had come to. Daedalus’ vile behaviour, showed me what men and women would think of me. There was no longer any respect, as he exposed and pumped his cock. This was how it would be from now on. Pasiphae, the slut. The Queen who would copulate with a beast. Men would joke about me in taverns, laugh behind my back. They would sing lewd songs about me. The story would be carved out in history. Pasiphae the whore. Pasiphae the perverted Queen. Daedalus grunted and spurted his seed on the tiled floor, never taking his eyes from my face. He bared his teeth at me. I knelt at his feet, obediently lapping up his spent seed.

The Queen stood before the King, in the magnificent throne room; Daedalus standing at the King’s right hand. King Minos was a big man, yet on this day he seemed shrunken and frail. He had aged years in just a few small minutes. He sat on the sculptured throne, his head in his hands. The frescoes of gryphons guarding the royal throne looked on at the King’s devastation impassively.

Queen Pasiphae was composed; she had told Minos, clearly and slowly what she wanted, needed to do. Now she stood before him, her eyes wide, watching him.

And how magnificent she looked. Every bit a Queen, her blue flounced skirts setting off the deep blue of her eyes. Her voluptuous breasts were bare and swayed when she moved. She had gold tinted her nipples, as was the custom for a high priestess. Her arms were covered in gold bracelets, filled with precious stones. Golden hairpins of crocus flowers decorated her long, tumbling, fair tresses. She wore a costly, pendant, shaped and hammered by the court goldsmith, into a bee hive pattern. Pasiphae had dressed for the occasion. Speaking with the authority of the goddess, she diminished her husband. Both she and he knew it.
Daedalus smiled. The previous day he had ordered the Queen to suck his cock. Not because he particularly desired such a thing. But because he wanted to see her beautiful mouth stretched to its capacity by his thickness. She’d gagged as he pushed his long cock into her throat; but he’d been relentless. He’d talked to her throughout; telling her that she was dirt; a slut. Then he’d come, spurting his seed down her throat, into her belly.

But at she stood before her husband, Daedalus admired her composure. Not once had she flinched, not even when her husband had cursed her, for an evil whore. That she was no better then the women who sell themselves to the sailors at the docks and harbours around the island. She had simply replied that it was what the god demanded; that her husband was to blame, for not sacrificing the beautiful white bull to Poseidon.
King Minos had wept his response. He would go down in history as a cuckold. A fool, who would encourage his wife in this perversion. He knew what the gossips around the court whispered; that Minos was an impotent idiot, who couldn’t satisfy his wife. Now they would think that they were right.

Again, Pasiphae had asserted that it was the god’s will.
Daedalus bowed his head to hide another small smile from playing around his lips. It maybe the god’s will, he thought. But the Queen was desperate for this fucking. The fucking may kill her; but without it she would surely die.

The King rose to his feet as if to strike his wife, but his large frame tumbled and crashed back onto the throne, his limbs twitching and jerking. He tried to speak, but his words were slurred. One side of his mouth dragged down in a terrible sneer. His head fell back; the eyes rolled beneath his lids, showing only the whites. The god had struck him down, silencing him.
Daedalus left the Queen pouring over the drawings he had brought to her apartments. He had ordered her to finger herself before he would give them to her, and desperate as she was, she’d obeyed him. He’d made her pull up her skirts and open her thighs, so he had her split cunt displayed before him. He’d grinned as he watched the Queen’s fingers slurped in and out of her hole.

She wept as she fingered herself, little sobs coming from her throat. How much longer would she have to wait? She had begged Daedalus to make haste with his work. She’d flung her arms around his knees, begging him to hurry. The tension had gone on for too long; she couldn’t bear to wait much longer.

Meanwhile, after Daedalus had left, Queen Pasiphae continued to play with her genitals, as she poured over the drawings. They were basic ideas, but they showed it could be done. She traced the outline of the drawing with a fingertip, as she stroked between her labia lips with another. She trembled with anticipation.

The structure, as she had instructed Daedalus, was hollow. It was supported on six wooded blocks, nailed to a trolley on wheels. She was to lay in the base, her arms hanging loose, her legs pinned open. Her head would poke out of one end, her chin resting on a cushion of soft leather. The arse end would be open; her rear exposed ready for the bull. There would be tight leather straps inside, keeping her body firmly in place. Daedalus had told her that the bull’s thrusts would be powerful and he could push her out of place. For his cock to fill her completely, her body must not move. He had looked at her closely, and asked her if she wanted the bull to fill her up? She had thought that her humiliation was complete, but she had felt herself blush, as she had nodded her assent.

The top half of the structure was to be nailed shut, after the Queen was strapped inside. She would be pinned down and confined, able only to move her head and neck. A prisoner, able only to scream.

This roof of the structure was to be made of blackest ebony, a tree from the deepest forests of dark Africa, Daedalus had told her it was the heaviest of all the woods. It would be reinforced in several places, above where her body would lay. This would prevent the bull’s weight from crushing the whole contraption and the Queen within it.

But Pasiphae was no longer worried about dying. What was the point? It was likely that very soon she was going to be fucked to death. She licked her dry lips.

It was the fittings that were the most degrading, but I endured them. I was sure that many times Daedalus lingered a little too long over details, such as the distance from where my arse crack began, to my cunt. Or the circumference of my breasts, or my belly. I had to trust him; but the length of time it was taking was unbearable. His workmen looked on, smirking. And all the time, while I stood naked in Daedalus’ workshop, my body flushed with shame, my silly little handmaid and Daedalus’ apprentice, played eyes with one another.

The fittings ended. The following day was going to be the day that Daedalus had worked so hard for. The Queen and the mighty bull would mate. He knew that the mating would not kill the Queen; he had read it in the stars. He had also read in the stars, that there would be offspring. The Queen would bear the god’s child, and he would be terrible. A monster. Half man, half bull.
The apprentices in the workshop carried on with the finishing touches well into the night. Daedalus had told them that there must be no rough edges left on the wood. Everything must be smooth and fine. They argued as they worked, sweat pouring over muscular chest in the hot night. They made bets as to whether the Queen would survive her ordeal.
King Minos’ worst fear had become a reality. Everyone, even to the lowliest kitchen maid, gossiped about the Queen. Everyone said that she had made a cuckold of the King. What sort of a man was the King that his wife would have sex with a bull? And for him to permit such a thing! Minos prayed to the god for an end to it, but the god ignored his and prayers and sacrifices

I lay helplessly imprisoned in the belly of the false cow. This was the time. Now. This terrible thing was going to happen. The leather straps were so tight, I could hardly breathe. Daedalus had carved holes for my breasts to be pulled through and I yelped as the apprentice tugged them into place. He pinched and squeezed my tender nipples and stood back, with a sneer on his face to admire his handiwork. I knew what he was thinking. With my breasts dangling like udders, I made an excellent cow.

Kia watched as the top half of the cow was hammered into place. The noise was incredible and she put her hands over her ears to shut out the din. She knew she would never forget this scene. For ever after the smells of the oils, lubricants, wood preservatives in Daedalus’ workshop, would bring it alive. Her mistress was encased inside a heavy wooden tomb on wheels. Just her head poking through at one end; her cunt at the other. Her large breasts dangling. Daedalus had raised the rear end of the cow, placing the Queen’s pubis on a platform. This would make her more accessible to the bull’s cock. Her legs were tied; stretched apart, forcing her cunt into a gaping hole; an open mouth. Her beautiful Mistress was a whore. A wanton woman reduced to cunt, breasts and head. Kia swallowed, suppressing her need to vomit. And in that moment she knew, that an obscenity would be born of this union.

Kia saw Daedalus grin as he liberally smeared juices from a cow at the height of her season, to her mistresses’ bottom and inner thighs. He was enjoying himself too much, Kia thought. More than once she saw his fingers slip into the Queen’s open hole. Kia knew her mistresses’ shame, as tears of degradation slid from her eyes. But she knew she would never call a halt to this sick ritual. Her need for the violation was all consuming.
It took eight oxen, in their prime, to drag the contraption containing the Queen, along the track, into the field. Before they began the wearisome journey, Daedalus raised his hands, and gave thanks to the god, in silent prayer. And then he gave the signal for the oxen to begin. Daedalus brought up the rear. As he followed the slow procession, his eyes were fixed on the Queen’s cunt. She glistened with the juices he had spread on her and with her own juices, dangling and oozing, in slippery silver strands from her cunt. Her hole gaped, and spasmed open and closed.
He was struck by the quiet of the early morning. Truly, he could feel the presence of the god. Daedalus could hear him breathing; sighing. This was the god’s will. He would be pleased and Daedalus’ reward would be great.

It was early enough for the first, warm rays of Helios not to have yet touched the meadows. The dew still glittered in pearly droplets on the grass. It had rained at some time in the night and Daedalus inhaled the fragrance of the damp earth. No birds were singing, they were quiet, as if they were contemplating the solemn little procession. All was silent, even the bull was quiet. Then, a dog howled. A mournful ghostly cry.

He’d ordered a dozen strong men to bring the bull from his pen into the field, where the Queen lay waiting for him. They’d hobbled him, to make controlling him in their favour. Daedalus was taking no chances this time. He’d already lost one good man to the bull. But still the bull plunged with furious energy, as he was led to his wife. Daedalus wished he could see the Queen’s face; her expression. Was she humiliated? Degraded? Was she weeping, or was there a sublime smile curving her beautiful mouth? But he stayed where he was. Daedalus wanted to see the bull’s cock split her cunt open.

The bull mounted her and his cock probed her dirt hole. Daedalus leaned down and seizing the bull’s cock, thrust it into the Queen’s cunt. He was amazed by her body’s elasticity as she stretched to accommodate him, her cunt walls gripping the bull’s cock, instantly swallowing him whole.

The noise shattered my ears, as the bull’s heavy, cloven hooves clattered and rattled on the roof. I ululated a cry, high and wailing. A lament for innocence banished. I was unnatural, and I rejoiced in my depravity. My heart was pounding as if it would burst out of my chest. His mighty cock probed against my tight anus, and I shouted out in panic. Then he penetrated my cunt, opening me; I screamed, “Yes!” in elation. The pain was shocking, every part of my body screeched with it. It was if I were being torn apart by an invasion of spears. I screamed again and again as his cock pushed into my cunt. With each thrust he grunted. And then, as he thrust ever deeper, the pain dulled. At least, it didn’t matter. The shame didn’t matter. We rutted together; destined for one another. He knew every fibre of me, as a husband should know his wife. My womb contracted in a series of spasms; my orgasm was close. His thrusts became fiercer; he pumped harder, as his seed flooded hot, into my womb. He bellowed and roared in triumph. And when the orgasm roiled over me, I swooned.

And so it was, that I, Pasiphae, Queen of Crete, High Priestess to the goddess, fulfilled the god’s sacred demand and fucked the bull.


  1. Brave, and very evocative Billierosie. The details were beautiful (... hairpins of crocus flowers...).I felt that the heat and the collective madness came across really well. As Neve said, very powerful. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  2. Thank you both very much. It was a challenging story to write, and I nearly gave up on it a couple of times. I think that these old Greek myths, dig deep into our psyche and present us with ideas that we'd rather not look at.

    It's a sad story, a tragedy in the true sense of the word.