After turning into a monster, Medusa fled from her native home and went to live with the Gorgon sisters; and she became one of them. Just as fierce and terrible as they were. She adapted: going to Rome and doing as the Romans did. One look at her face, and one instantly turned into a cold, hard stone. The gaze of instant death. For how was one to live without a beating heart and warm blood flowing through their veins.
Many brave men tried to go up against this daunting trio, but never succeeded. Of the three, Medusa was the only mortal one; and thus everyone tried to get at her; perhaps in a fit to show their daring and prowess; or maybe to avenge a lost soul that had fallen at their hands; perhaps others lacked anything better to do. Regardless of the propelling force, they all ended up the same; solid blocks of rock, with silent screams seeming to emanate from their aghast mouths.
There lived a man by the name of Perseus. He was no ordinary man, but rather a demi god; half man, half god. His father was the god of the skies, Zeus, and his mother was the beautiful maiden Danae. There was a king who desperately wanted to marry Danae, but he was a cruel man; and Perseus wouldn’t hear of it. And so as a way to get rid of her pestering son, the king sent Perseus on a fatal mission; to retrieve the head of Medusa and bring it to him as a gift.
This was a fool’s errand, but Perseus deeply loved his mother and would do anything to save her from the clutches of the tyrant king. And so he set forth; going to the only place he knew he could get help; the wise magician who lived at the top of the mountains. Seeing his determination, the magician gave him a shield, so well-polished that he could see his face on it. “Use this to see Medusa’s face, but do not dare look directly at her face,” he warned. “You will also need a pair of winged sandals, the helmet of invisibility, and a silver bag to hold the head. You will need to go to Mount Atlas, to the three witches who share one eye.”
Perseus made his way to Mount Atlas, and hoodwinking the witches, was able to get the impedimenta he needed for what he was about to face. When he got to the cave where the Gorgon sisters lived, he felt his heart grow cold with fear; as though he had already caught a glimpse into Medusa’s eyes. Steadying himself, he put on his helmet and the winged sandals; he then took out his shield, and with his sword by his side looked into the shield, and seeing Medusa’s reflection on it, he swung his sword as hard as he could, and was able to cut off her head. Before the other sisters realized what had happened, he jumped to his feet, scooped up the severed head and, still thrashing, threw it into the silver bag, and flew away; heart pounding erratically in his chest. The snakes on the head seemed determined to get back at him for what he had done, as he could feel them incandescently writhing and hissing in the bag.
He flew as fast as he could to his homeland and presented the king with the head. Not only had he made it back alive, but had also come back with Medusa’s head. Perhaps out of shock, or maybe some sense of preservation for the little respect that people still had for him, he let Danae go (the King who ‘kept ’ his word). Perseus was, however, not so willing to forgive him, and he took the head from the bag and held it up right in the king’s face; and he immediately turned into stone. To read more posts by Anne, click HERE