Perseus kills the Gorgon Medusa
Polydect plotted to forcibly take a beautiful wife Danae, but Danae hated the harsh king Polydectes. Perseus stood up for his mother. Polydectes became angry and from that time on he thought only of one thing - how to ruin Perseus for him. In the end, the cruel Polydect decided to send Perseus for the gorgon's head Medusa. He called Perseus and told him:
- If you really are the son of the thunderer Zeus, then you will not refuse to perform a great feat. Your heart will not tremble before any danger. Prove to me that Zeus is your father, and bring me the head of the gorgon Medusa. Oh, I believe Zeus will help his son!
Perseus looked proudly at Polydectes and calmly replied:
- Okay, I'll get you the head of a Medusa.
Perseus went on a long journey. He needed to reach the western edge of the earth, the country where the goddess of night reigned Nyukta and the god of death Tanat. There were also terrible gorgons in this country. Their whole body was covered with shiny and strong, like steel, scales. No sword could cut this scale, only the curved sword of Hermes. The gorgons had huge copper hands with sharp steel claws. On their heads, instead of hair, venomous snakes moved, hissing. The faces of the gorgons, with their dagger-sharp fangs, lips red as blood, and eyes burning with rage, were filled with such malice, were so terrible that everyone turned to stone at one glance at the gorgons. On wings with golden sparkling feathers, gorgons quickly flew through the air. Woe to the man they met! The gorgons tore him apart with their copper hands and drank his hot blood.
A difficult, inhuman feat was to be performed by Perseus. But the gods of Olympus could not let him, the son of Zeus, perish. The messenger of the gods Hermes, quick as thought, and the beloved daughter of Zeus, the warrior Athena came to his aid. Athena gave Perseus a copper shield, so shiny that everything was reflected in it, as in a mirror; Hermes gave Perseus his sharp sword, which cut like soft wax, the hardest steel. The messenger of the gods showed the young hero how to find the gorgons.
Perseus' journey was long. He passed through many countries, saw many peoples. At last he reached the gloomy country where the old Grays lived. They had only one eye and one tooth on all three. They took turns using them. While one of the grays had an eye, the other two were blind, and the sighted graya led the blind, helpless sisters. When Graya took out her eye and handed it to the next one in turn, all three sisters were blind. These Grays guarded the way to the Gorgons, only they alone knew it. Perseus quietly crept up to them in the darkness, and on the advice of Hermes, tore out a wonderful eye from one of the gries just at the moment when she was passing it to her sister. The Grays screamed in horror. Now all three of them were blind. What should they do blind and helpless? They began to beg Perseus, conjuring him by all the gods to give them the eye. They were ready to do anything for the hero, if only he would return their treasure to them. Then Perseus demanded that they show him the way to the Gorgons for the return of the eye. The Grays hesitated for a long time, but they had to point this way in order to regain their sight. So Perseus found out how to get him to Gorgon Island, and quickly went on.
During the further journey Perseus came to the nymphs. From them he received three gifts: the helmet of the ruler of the underworld Hades, which made invisible anyone who wore it, sandals with wings with which you could quickly rush through the air, and a magic bag: this bag is it expanded, then contracted, depending on the size of what lay in it. Perseus put on winged sandals, the helmet of Hades, slung a wonderful bag over his shoulder and quickly flew through the air to the island of Gorgons.
Perseus was rushing high in the sky. Below him, the land spread out with green valleys, through which rivers wound in silver ribbons. The cities were visible below, the temples of the gods shone brightly in them with white marble. In the distance towered mountains covered with green forests, and, like diamonds, their peaks, covered with snow, burned in the rays of the sun. Perseus is rushing on and on like a whirlwind. He flies as high as eagles do not fly on their mighty wings. Here the sea flashed in the distance like molten gold. Now Perseus is flying over the sea, and the noise of the sea waves is barely audible to him. Now the land is no longer visible. In all directions, as far as Perseus' gaze can reach, the plain of waters stretches beneath him. Finally, in the blue distance of the sea, an island appeared like a black stripe. He's getting closer. This is Gorgon Island. Something is shining with an unbearable brilliance in the rays of the sun on this island. Perseus descended lower. Like an eagle, he soars over the island and sees three terrible gorgons sleeping on a rock. They spread out their copper arms in a dream, their steel scales and golden wings burn with fire in the sun. Snakes on their heads move slightly in their sleep, Perseus turned away from the gorgons rather. He is afraid to see their menacing faces - after all, one glance, and he will turn into stone. Perseus took the shield of Pallas Athena - as gorgons were reflected in it in a mirror. Which one of them is a Medusa? Gorgons are like two drops of water similar to each other. Of the three gorgons, only Medusa is mortal, only she can be killed. Perseus thought. Here the quick Hermes helped Perseus. He pointed out Medusa to Perseus and whispered softly in his ear:
- Hurry up, Perseus! Come down boldly. There's the Medusa, the one closest to the sea. Chop off her head. Remember, don't look at her! One look and you're dead. Hurry up before the Gorgons wake up!
As an eagle falls from the sky on the intended victim, so Perseus rushed to the sleeping Medusa. He looks into the clear shield to strike more accurately. The snakes on Medusa's head sensed the enemy. With a menacing hiss they rose. Medusa stirred in her sleep. She had already opened her eyes a crack. At that moment, a sharp sword flashed like lightning. With one blow, Perseus cut off the head of Medusa. Her dark blood gushed onto the rock in a torrent, and with streams of blood from the body of the Medusa, a winged horse soared to the sky Pegasus and giant khrisaor. Perseus quickly grabbed the head of the Medusa and hid it in a wonderful bag. Writhing in the convulsions of death, the body of the Medusa fell from the cliff into the sea. The sound of his fall woke up the sisters of Medusa, Steino and Euryale. Flapping their mighty wings, they soared over the island and look around with eyes burning with rage. Gorgons are rushing noisily through the air, but the killer of their sister Medusa has disappeared without a trace. Not a single living soul is visible either on the island or far out to sea. And Perseus was rushing fast, invisible in the helmet of Hades, over the noisy sea. Now he is rushing over the sands of Libya. Blood from the Medusa's head seeped through the bag and fell in heavy drops on the sand. From these drops of blood, the sands of poisonous snakes were born. Everything swarmed with them, all living things fled from them; the snakes turned Libya into a desert.