This is the story of Perseus the Gorgon Slayer. It was prophesised by the oracle at Apollo’s temple that Perseus the son of Danae the Daughter of King Acruis of Tiryns and Zeus the King of the Gods, would one day return to kill his grandfather the king Acrius. It was this prophecy that made the King of Tiryns treat his daughter in a cruel fashion. In fear for his life, he locked Danea in a brass tower and kept her under lock and key, so that she would marry and produce children. However Zeus, visited Danae in the tower disguised as a shower of gold and they produced a son called Perseus the hero of this story.
When the King found out about this he was furious and scared that despite all his efforts, Danae had succeeded in producing a child. In his anger he took his daughter and grandson and put them in a wooden chest and pushed the chest out to sea. Whilst he did this he vowed to the immortals that he was doing nothing wrong, Scared and cradling her son as they floated in the water, further and further away from her home island, she cried and watched Perseus in wonderment as he slept peacefully through the whole ordeal. The chest soon found its way to Seriphos, where the King Polydectes’s brother Dictys (a fisherman) found them.
And this where the story begins. ” For as long as I can remember Seriphos, has been my home . I lived in a house by the sea where the days were hot and the ocean met its soft white sandy beaches. For as long as I can remember, I have been raised by my good friend Dictys . He has taught me so much and given much needed training and experience to which I will always be grateful. Dictys has taught me how to wield a sword and how to fight like a true warrior, as well as the art of fishing, his trade. He has been like a father to me and has supported and helped my fair and beautiful mother Danae.
How lucky I have been to have a mother like her. So beautiful that even the King Polydectes had fallen in love with her and had asked her to marry him. How brave my mother was to have refused him, but that was not enough for him, when the King wanted something he had to have it. His plan was wicked and cruel, as he knew that the best way to get to mother was if I was not there to protect her. Like a fool I took the bait, I fell for his plan. Like a fool I went to the feast at the Kings palace to which I was invited. . A feast where each person was told to bring a wondrous gift for the King, but by they told me it was too late.
I had no present to give the King. Pity fully I had to go empty handed and face the wrath of the king. How they humiliated me, I can still remember their sneering faces. I was raging and could not help myself any longer . I shouted and told them that I would get the king a gift better than any of theirs. Polydectes must have been waiting for that reaction, as he sneered and cunningly asked me to get him the gorgon Medusa’s head. Surprised as I was I was not going to let them have the satisfaction of seeing my surprise or of my backing down from the request.
So I mad a vow to the King and myself that I would not return unless I had their gift. Then I stalked out and went straight to my secret cave; when I sat down to think. How was I going to achieve this impossible task that I had agreed to. How was I going to get the head without being killed? Secretly I was scared and anxious, my stomach kept on doing somersaults as I thought about the task As though in answers to my question, I was blessed that night, as that night two immortals visited me. What wondrous the sight was. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and Hermes the messenger God themselves came to me.
Both of them radiated with splendour and I was awed and hypnotised as I listened to them. They had come to help me I could scarcely believe that gods were helping me. Athena gave me her shield! and told me to only look at the reflection of the Gorgon. Hermes gave me the sharpest sickle in the world to kill the gorgon with. Then they told me where I had to go, and as quickly as they cam they left, giving me their blessings as they left. I felt determination stir in my heart. I was going to make everyone proud and I was going to show the King just what Perseus was made of.
Never before had I felt so excited and scared and anxious at the same time. Saying farewell to my family I set of the next day First I had to visit the cave of the grey sisters, who had been born old. It was a dark cave and had the atmosphere of emptiness and loneliness. Nervously and cautiously I made my way to meet them. They were old and wrinkly and shared only one eye and ear between them. Gathering up my courage I took advantage of this and stole their eye. Putting on a brave face yet very uncertain inside, I threatened to plunge them in a world of darkness without their eye.
It worked, scared they told me the information I needed. They told me the way to the magic island at the back of the North Wind. I carried on my journey in that direction and soon I came to the garden where the nymphs dwelled. They were beautiful. Pure beauty , that any man would die for . They welcomed me willing and lavished me with wonderful food and singing, that I did not want to leave I stayed their for many days not wanting to escape the security and the beautiful scenery . Soon , with a heavy heart I realised that I needed to move on with the quest .
The nymphs had been so good me . Before I left however they gave me gifts that would help me on my quest . A Cap of Darkness , which made me invisible , Shoes of Swiftness that would help me escape and the magic wallet which would help me carry the Gorgons head . I now had everything I needed for the quest . With a heavy heart and a silent prayer to the immortals for their blessings I carried on to the most perilous part of the mission yet. I was both scared and excited of what was going to happen next . When I reached the Gorgons place, I was horrified with what I found.
Statues of men and beasts lined the fields. My heart thumped as I wondered if I was going to be one of them ? . I approached the house scared yet determined . Luck was on my side , as I realised that the sisters were asleep . Looking at the reflection and wearing the cap of darkness I cautiously approached Medusa . Medusa had huge snakes which grew instead of hair whilst the other two sisters had dragon scales . they were the most hideous creatures I had ever encountered and I trembled . I wanted to turn back , run away not face the sisters .
Humiliation was better than death was it not ? . No ! I could not turn back now, I must do this ! . Slowly I raised the sickle and in one quick blow I cut of her head . Quickly I hurried in putting the head in the magic wallet , but it was too late . The snakes hissing had woken up the other sisters. Oh no ! This is it , I have to get out of here . My heart thumped in my chest hard as I slipped on the shoes of swiftness and ran away from the sisters , who chased me screaming and hissing with rage . As I ran , I could scarcely believe I had accomplished this task .
I felt giddy and light headed with relief. Now I could go home and show the King , he would be so surprised , then we will see who gets the last laugh . So I ran through Africa , over the great lonely desert , where each drop of Medusa’s blood made a small oasis . One morning of perhaps the luckiest days of my life , I ran by a rock where there seemed to be a maiden chained to it . What a beauty she was , she could put even a nymph to shame , I knew when I saw her that I was in love . But why was such a beautiful maiden here ? Worried I asked her .
Weeping she told me that her name was Andromeda and that she was here because her father had offered her as a sacrifice to the gods, to please them . I knew what I had to do I had to save her, but when I told her this she would not believe me . So I showed her , I freed the chains and killed the monster that was guarding her using the power of Medusa’s head . Feasts were held in my honour as and I truly felt a hero . I got what I wanted as her father offered her hand in marriage to me which I readily agreed to We had a lavish wedding ceremony and I stayed their for many days .
One day as we were about to sit down for a dinner feast, a man burst in to the room and demanded Andromeda . Like hell he was taking her she was mine and no one could take her , in rage I used the Gorgons head and turned the man and his followers to stone . After that incident we set of home again, Home how wonderful that word sounded . I would see my mother again and Dictys and would be able to present Andromeda to them . They would be most pleased . However all was not well when we arrived . I was shocked and angered when I found out that my mother Danae had been made a slave .
A Greek of her standard, a slave ! and Dictys was in prison . Dictys was not the type of person to be get into trouble . Frustrated and angry I left Andromeda on the ship and went to King , his precious “gift” in tow. I should not have been surprised at his answer , the court never really liked me and always found a reason to look down upon me . . He called me a boaster and liar and other insulting names. He was not going to get the chance to sneer at me again , they were not going to laugh at me . Silently I removed the Gorgons head and at first eye contact the King was turned into stone .
He finally got his just dessert , He was a fool to have doubted me , as I watched him turn to stone in my heart I felt the first true moment of satisfaction . That night I was in my secret place again , when the immortals visited me again . I thanked them for their assistance and watched as they disappeared into the sky above, taking with them all the things that they gave to help me on my quest . I felt so relieved that the burden of the gorgons head was taken off me, it was in a place where it would hurt no mortal again .
As I sat their at the place , I prayed to the Hera to grant me and my wife a long life and a happy marriage filled with lots of children ” The tale has a strange ending . You would think that Perseus has no chance to fulfil the prophecy, which the oracle had said would happen. You would be wrong , for he did fulfil the prophecy and was deeply saddened by the death of his grandfather . It happened that as he and Andromeda set sail for Agrolis, they stopped of at the island of Lassira where Perseus took part in the games .
He excelled in many of the sports and when it came time of the discus he hurled it so hard that it hit an old man in the crowd , killing him instantly . This man happed to be the King Acrius , who had left his home in fear for his life. The rest of the tale is a classic ending in which Perseus and Andromeda have a long life with many children and Danea and Dictys marry and rule over Seriphos. Among the children of Perseus and Andromeda was Electryon who’s grandson was the hero Herakles , but that is another story !