VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of www.childrenstories.ca Informational Site Network Informational
Privacy
Home - Stories - Categories - Books - Search

Featured Stories

The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Categories

A FAIRY-TALE

Aesop

ALPHABET RHYMES

AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES

AMUSING ALPHABETS

Animal Sketches And Stories

ANIMAL STORIES

ARBOR DAY

BIRD DAY

Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon

Bohemian Story

BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS

CATS

CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES

CHRISTMAS DAY

COLUMBUS DAY

CUSTOM RHYMES

Didactic Stories

Everyday Verses

EVIL SPIRITS

FABLES

FABLES FOR CHILDREN

FABLES FROM INDIA

FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS

FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

For Classes Ii. And Iii.

For Classes Iv. And V.

For Kindergarten And Class I.

FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

GERMAN

Good Little Henry

HALLOWEEN

Happy Days

INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]

Jean De La Fontaine

King Alexander's Adventures

KINGS AND WARRIORS

LABOR DAY

LAND AND WATER FAIRIES

Lessons From Nature

LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY

LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG

Love Lyrics

Lyrics

MAY DAY

MEMORIAL DAY

Modern

MODERN FABLES

MODERN FAIRY TALES

MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED

MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES

MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES

MOTHERS' DAY

Myths And Legends

NATURE SONGS

NEGLECT THE FIRE

NUMBER RHYMES

NURSERY GAMES

NURSERY-SONGS.

NURSEY STORIES

OLD-FASHIONED STORIES

ON POPULAR EDUCATION

OURSON

Perseus

PLACES AND FAMILIES

Poems Of Nature

Polish Story

Popular

PROVERB RHYMES

RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)

RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"

RIDDLE RHYMES

RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE

ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES

SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY

Selections From The Bible

Servian Story

SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES

Some Children's Poets

Songs Of Life

STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS

STORIES FOR CHILDREN

STORIES for LITTLE BOYS

STORIES FROM BOTANY

STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN

STORIES FROM IRELAND

STORIES FROM PHYSICS

STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA

STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY

STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS

SUPERSITITIONS

THANKSGIVING DAY

The Argonauts

THE CANDLE

THE DAYS OF THE WEEK

THE DECEMBRISTS

The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers

The Little Grey Mouse

THE OLD FAIRY TALES

The Princess Rosette

THE THREE HERMITS

THE TWO OLD MEN

Theseus

Traditional

UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES

VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES

WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY

WHAT MEN LIVE BY

WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO

HOW PERSEUS CAME TO THE AETHIOPS

from The Heroes - Perseus





So Perseus flitted onward to the north-east, over many a league of
sea, till he came to the rolling sand-hills and the dreary Lybian
shore.

And he flitted on across the desert: over rock-ledges, and banks
of shingle, and level wastes of sand, and shell-drifts bleaching in
the sunshine, and the skeletons of great sea-monsters, and dead
bones of ancient giants, strewn up and down upon the old sea-floor.
And as he went the blood-drops fell to the earth from the Gorgon's
head, and became poisonous asps and adders, which breed in the
desert to this day.

Over the sands he went,--he never knew how far or how long, feeding
on the fruit which the Nymphs had given him, till he saw the hills
of the Psylli, and the Dwarfs who fought with cranes. Their spears
were of reeds and rushes, and their houses of the egg-shells of the
cranes; and Perseus laughed, and went his way to the north-east,
hoping all day long to see the blue Mediterranean sparkling, that
he might fly across it to his home.

But now came down a mighty wind, and swept him back southward
toward the desert. All day long he strove against it; but even the
winged sandals could not prevail. So he was forced to float down
the wind all night; and when the morning dawned there was nothing
to be seen, save the same old hateful waste of sand.

And out of the north the sandstorms rushed upon him, blood-red
pillars and wreaths, blotting out the noonday sun; and Perseus fled
before them, lest he should be choked by the burning dust. At last
the gale fell calm, and he tried to go northward again; but again
came down the sandstorms, and swept him back into the waste, and
then all was calm and cloudless as before. Seven days he strove
against the storms, and seven days he was driven back, till he was
spent with thirst and hunger, and his tongue clove to the roof of
his mouth. Here and there he fancied that he saw a fair lake, and
the sunbeams shining on the water; but when he came to it it
vanished at his feet, and there was nought but burning sand. And
if he had not been of the race of the Immortals, he would have
perished in the waste; but his life was strong within him, because
it was more than man's.

Then he cried to Athene, and said -

'Oh, fair and pure, if thou hearest me, wilt thou leave me here to
die of drought? I have brought thee the Gorgon's head at thy
bidding, and hitherto thou hast prospered my journey; dost thou
desert me at the last? Else why will not these immortal sandals
prevail, even against the desert storms? Shall I never see my
mother more, and the blue ripple round Seriphos, and the sunny
hills of Hellas?'

So he prayed; and after he had prayed there was a great silence.

The heaven was still above his head, and the sand was still beneath
his feet; and Perseus looked up, but there was nothing but the
blinding sun in the blinding blue; and round him, but there was
nothing but the blinding sand.

And Perseus stood still a while, and waited, and said, 'Surely I am
not here without the will of the Immortals, for Athene will not
lie. Were not these sandals to lead me in the right road? Then
the road in which I have tried to go must be a wrong road.'

Then suddenly his ears were opened, and he heard the sound of
running water.

And at that his heart was lifted up, though he scarcely dare
believe his ears; and weary as he was, he hurried forward, though
he could scarcely stand upright; and within a bowshot of him was a
glen in the sand, and marble rocks, and date-trees, and a lawn of
gay green grass. And through the lawn a streamlet sparkled and
wandered out beyond the trees, and vanished in the sand.

The water trickled among the rocks, and a pleasant breeze rustled
in the dry date-branches and Perseus laughed for joy, and leapt
down the cliff, and drank of the cool water, and ate of the dates,
and slept upon the turf, and leapt up and went forward again: but
not toward the north this time; for he said, 'Surely Athene hath
sent me hither, and will not have me go homeward yet. What if
there be another noble deed to be done, before I see the sunny
hills of Hellas?'

So he went east, and east for ever, by fresh oases and fountains,
date-palms, and lawns of grass, till he saw before him a mighty
mountain-wall, all rose-red in the setting sun.

Then he towered in the air like an eagle, for his limbs were strong
again; and he flew all night across the mountain till the day began
to dawn, and rosy-fingered Eos came blushing up the sky. And then,
behold, beneath him was the long green garden of Egypt and the
shining stream of Nile.

And he saw cities walled up to heaven, and temples, and obelisks,
and pyramids, and giant Gods of stone. And he came down amid
fields of barley, and flax, and millet, and clambering gourds; and
saw the people coming out of the gates of a great city, and setting
to work, each in his place, among the water-courses, parting the
streams among the plants cunningly with their feet, according to
the wisdom of the Egyptians. But when they saw him they all
stopped their work, and gathered round him, and cried -

'Who art thou, fair youth? and what bearest thou beneath thy goat-
skin there? Surely thou art one of the Immortals; for thy skin is
white like ivory, and ours is red like clay. Thy hair is like
threads of gold, and ours is black and curled. Surely thou art one
of the Immortals;' and they would have worshipped him then and
there; but Perseus said -

'I am not one of the Immortals; but I am a hero of the Hellens.
And I have slain the Gorgon in the wilderness, and bear her head
with me. Give me food, therefore, that I may go forward and finish
my work.'

Then they gave him food, and fruit, and wine; but they would not
let him go. And when the news came into the city that the Gorgon
was slain, the priests came out to meet him, and the maidens, with
songs and dances, and timbrels and harps; and they would have
brought him to their temple and to their king; but Perseus put on
the hat of darkness, and vanished away out of their sight.

Therefore the Egyptians looked long for his return, but in vain,
and worshipped him as a hero, and made a statue of him in Chemmis,
which stood for many a hundred years; and they said that he
appeared to them at times, with sandals a cubit long; and that
whenever he appeared the season was fruitful, and the Nile rose
high that year.

Then Perseus went to the eastward, along the Red Sea shore; and
then, because he was afraid to go into the Arabian deserts, he
turned northward once more, and this time no storm hindered him.

He went past the Isthmus, and Mount Casius, and the vast Serbonian
bog, and up the shore of Palestine, where the dark-faced AEthiops
dwelt.

He flew on past pleasant hills and valleys, like Argos itself, or
Lacedaemon, or the fair Vale of Tempe. But the lowlands were all
drowned by floods, and the highlands blasted by fire, and the hills
heaved like a babbling cauldron, before the wrath of King Poseidon,
the shaker of the earth.

And Perseus feared to go inland, but flew along the shore above the
sea; and he went on all the day, and the sky was black with smoke;
and he went on all the night, and the sky was red with flame.

And at the dawn of day he looked toward the cliffs; and at the
water's edge, under a black rock, he saw a white image stand.

'This,' thought he, 'must surely be the statue of some sea-God; I
will go near and see what kind of Gods these barbarians worship.'

So he came near; but when he came, it was no statue, but a maiden
of flesh and blood; for he could see her tresses streaming in the
breeze; and as he came closer still, he could see how she shrank
and shivered when the waves sprinkled her with cold salt spray.
Her arms were spread above her head, and fastened to the rock with
chains of brass; and her head drooped on her bosom, either with
sleep, or weariness, or grief. But now and then she looked up and
wailed, and called her mother; yet she did not see Perseus, for the
cap of darkness was on his head.

Full of pity and indignation, Perseus drew near and looked upon the
maid. Her cheeks were darker than his were, and her hair was blue-
black like a hyacinth; but Perseus thought, 'I have never seen so
beautiful a maiden; no, not in all our isles. Surely she is a
king's daughter. Do barbarians treat their kings' daughters thus?
She is too fair, at least, to have done any wrong I will speak to
her.'

And, lifting the hat from his head, he flashed into her sight. She
shrieked with terror, and tried to hide her face with her hair, for
she could not with her hands; but Perseus cried -

'Do not fear me, fair one; I am a Hellen, and no barbarian. What
cruel men have bound you? But first I will set you free.'

And he tore at the fetters, but they were too strong for him; while
the maiden cried -

'Touch me not; I am accursed, devoted as a victim to the sea-Gods.
They will slay you, if you dare to set me free.'

'Let them try,' said Perseus; and drawing, Herpe from his thigh, he
cut through the brass as if it had been flax.

'Now,' he said, 'you belong to me, and not to these sea-Gods,
whosoever they may be!' But she only called the more on her
mother.

'Why call on your mother? She can be no mother to have left you
here. If a bird is dropped out of the nest, it belongs to the man
who picks it up. If a jewel is cast by the wayside, it is his who
dare win it and wear it, as I will win you and will wear you. I
know now why Pallas Athene sent me hither. She sent me to gain a
prize worth all my toil and more.'

And he clasped her in his arms, and cried, 'Where are these sea-
Gods, cruel and unjust, who doom fair maids to death? I carry the
weapons of Immortals. Let them measure their strength against
mine! But tell me, maiden, who you are, and what dark fate brought
you here.'

And she answered, weeping -

'I am the daughter of Cepheus, King of Iopa, and my mother is
Cassiopoeia of the beautiful tresses, and they called me Andromeda,
as long as life was mine. And I stand bound here, hapless that I
am, for the sea-monster's food, to atone for my mother's sin. For
she boasted of me once that I was fairer than Atergatis, Queen of
the Fishes; so she in her wrath sent the sea-floods, and her
brother the Fire King sent the earthquakes, and wasted all the
land, and after the floods a monster bred of the slime, who devours
all living things. And now he must devour me, guiltless though I
am--me who never harmed a living thing, nor saw a fish upon the
shore but I gave it life, and threw it back into the sea; for in
our land we eat no fish, for fear of Atergatis their queen. Yet
the priests say that nothing but my blood can atone for a sin which
I never committed.'

But Perseus laughed, and said, 'A sea-monster? I have fought with
worse than him: I would have faced Immortals for your sake; how
much more a beast of the sea?'

Then Andromeda looked up at him, and new hope was kindled in her
breast, so proud and fair did he stand, with one hand round her,
and in the other the glittering sword. But she only sighed, and
wept the more, and cried -

'Why will you die, young as you are? Is there not death and sorrow
enough in the world already? It is noble for me to die, that I may
save the lives of a whole people; but you, better than them all,
why should I slay you too? Go you your way; I must go mine.'

But Perseus cried, 'Not so; for the Lords of Olympus, whom I serve,
are the friends of the heroes, and help them on to noble deeds.
Led by them, I slew the Gorgon, the beautiful horror; and not
without them do I come hither, to slay this monster with that same
Gorgon's head. Yet hide your eyes when I leave you, lest the sight
of it freeze you too to stone.'

But the maiden answered nothing, for she could not believe his
words. And then, suddenly looking up, she pointed to the sea, and
shrieked -

'There he comes, with the sunrise, as they promised. I must die
now. How shall I endure it? Oh, go! Is it not dreadful enough to
be torn piecemeal, without having you to look on?' And she tried
to thrust him away.

But he said, 'I go; yet promise me one thing ere I go: that if I
slay this beast you will be my wife, and come back with me to my
kingdom in fruitful Argos, for I am a king's heir. Promise me, and
seal it with a kiss.'

Then she lifted up her face, and kissed him; and Perseus laughed
for joy, and flew upward, while Andromeda crouched trembling on the
rock, waiting for what might befall.

On came the great sea-monster, coasting along like a huge black
galley, lazily breasting the ripple, and stopping at times by creek
or headland to watch for the laughter of girls at their bleaching,
or cattle pawing on the sand-hills, or boys bathing on the beach.
His great sides were fringed with clustering shells and sea-weeds,
and the water gurgled in and out of his wide jaws, as he rolled
along, dripping and glistening in the beams of the morning sun.

At last he saw Andromeda, and shot forward to take his prey, while
the waves foamed white behind him, and before him the fish fled
leaping.

Then down from the height of the air fell Perseus like a shooting
star; down to the crests of the waves, while Andromeda hid her face
as he shouted; and then there was silence for a while.

At last she looked up trembling, and saw Perseus springing toward
her; and instead of the monster a long black rock, with the sea
rippling quietly round it.

Who then so proud as Perseus, as he leapt back to the rock, and
lifted his fair Andromeda in his arms, and flew with her to the
cliff-top, as a falcon carries a dove?

Who so proud as Perseus, and who so joyful as all the AEthiop
people? For they had stood watching the monster from the cliffs,
wailing for the maiden's fate. And already a messenger had gone to
Cepheus and Cassiopoeia, where they sat in sackcloth and ashes on
the ground, in the innermost palace chambers, awaiting their
daughter's end. And they came, and all the city with them, to see
the wonder, with songs and with dances, with cymbals and harps, and
received their daughter back again, as one alive from the dead.

Then Cepheus said, 'Hero of the Hellens, stay here with me and be
my son-in-law, and I will give you the half of my kingdom.'

'I will be your son-in-law,' said Perseus, 'but of your kingdom I
will have none, for I long after the pleasant land of Greece, and
my mother who waits for me at home.'

Then Cepheus said, 'You must not take my daughter away at once, for
she is to us like one alive from the dead. Stay with us here a
year, and after that you shall return with honour.' And Perseus
consented; but before he went to the palace he bade the people
bring stones and wood, and built three altars, one to Athene, and
one to Hermes, and one to Father Zeus, and offered bullocks and
rams.

And some said, 'This is a pious man;' yet the priests said, 'The
Sea Queen will be yet more fierce against us, because her monster
is slain.' But they were afraid to speak aloud, for they feared
the Gorgon's head. So they went up to the palace; and when they
came in, there stood in the hall Phineus, the brother of Cepheus,
chafing like a bear robbed of her whelps, and with him his sons,
and his servants, and many an armed man; and he cried to Cepheus -

'You shall not marry your daughter to this stranger, of whom no one
knows even the name. Was not Andromeda betrothed to my son? And
now she is safe again, has he not a right to claim her?'

But Perseus laughed, and answered, 'If your son is in want of a
bride, let him save a maiden for himself. As yet he seems but a
helpless bride-groom. He left this one to die, and dead she is to
him. I saved her alive, and alive she is to me, but to no one
else. Ungrateful man! have I not saved your land, and the lives of
your sons and daughters, and will you requite me thus? Go, or it
will be worse for you.' But all the men-at-arms drew their swords,
and rushed on him like wild beasts.

Then he unveiled the Gorgon's head, and said, 'This has delivered
my bride from one wild beast: it shall deliver her from many.'
And as he spoke Phineus and all his men-at-arms stopped short, and
stiffened each man as he stood; and before Perseus had drawn the
goat-skin over the face again, they were all turned into stone.

Then Persons bade the people bring levers and roll them out; and
what was done with them after that I cannot tell.

So they made a great wedding-feast, which lasted seven whole days,
and who so happy as Perseus and Andromeda?

But on the eighth night Perseus dreamed a dream; and he saw
standing beside him Pallas Athene, as he had seen her in Seriphos,
seven long years before; and she stood and called him by name, and
said -

'Perseus, you have played the man, and see, you have your reward.
Know now that the Gods are just, and help him who helps himself.
Now give me here Herpe the sword, and the sandals, and the hat of
darkness, that I may give them back to their owners; but the
Gorgon's head you shall keep a while, for you will need it in your
land of Greece. Then you shall lay it up in my temple at Seriphos,
that I may wear it on my shield for ever, a terror to the Titans
and the monsters, and the foes of Gods and men. And as for this
land, I have appeased the sea and the fire, and there shall be no
more floods nor earthquakes. But let the people build altars to
Father Zeus, and to me, and worship the Immortals, the Lords of
heaven and earth.'

And Perseus rose to give her the sword, and the cap, and the
sandals; but he woke, and his dream vanished away. And yet it was
not altogether a dream; for the goat-skin with the head was in its
place; but the sword, and the cap, and the sandals were gone, and
Perseus never saw them more.

Then a great awe fell on Perseus; and he went out in the morning to
the people, and told his dream, and bade them build altars to Zeus,
the Father of Gods and men, and to Athene, who gives wisdom to
heroes; and fear no more the earthquakes and the floods, but sow
and build in peace. And they did so for a while, and prospered;
but after Perseus was gone they forgot Zeus and Athene, and
worshipped again Atergatis the queen, and the undying fish of the
sacred lake, where Deucalion's deluge was swallowed up, and they
burnt their children before the Fire King, till Zeus was angry with
that foolish people, and brought a strange nation against them out
of Egypt, who fought against them and wasted them utterly, and
dwelt in their cities for many a hundred years.





Next: HOW PERSEUS CAME HOME AGAIN

Previous: HOW PERSEUS SLEW THE GORGON



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK



Viewed: 1390