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2006-02-28 00:00


  Acrisius,king of Argos,was Hypermnestra' s grandson.He had one beautiful daughter, Danae by name. So much did he love her that he decided not to remarry after the death of his wife. But one day an oracle  from Delphi prophesied that he would be killed by the son of Danae.He felt so upset that his love suddenly changed to fear and hatred. To avoid the disaster he built a tall bronze tower,wherein he shut Danae up with her nurse.he kept the key of the tower himself,and left only the roof open for Danae to take an occasional look at the blue sky above. One bright sunny morning Danae felt a childish joy at the sight of the clear,blue sky and longed for freedom when a golden shower of sunlight shot through the open roof and spread all over her.A wave of happiness spread all over her,and Zeus himself stood before her in his splendour  and won her.

  Some time later,a guard came rushing into King Acrisius' palace and told the astonished king that Danae had given birth to a son. The baby was called Perseus. Acrisius decided that both mother and son must die if he wanted to live himself. Very soon he had a great chest(箱子) built,where he put Danae and her son,and then set it adrift on the sea . Answering the sad prayers of the poor mother,Zeus had the chest swept onto the land of the Seriphos. Polydectes,king of the country,treated them at first with kindness,but afterwards with cruelty. When Perseus was grown up,Polydectes sent him to kill Medusa.

  Medusa had been a beautiful maiden,but as she once violated Athena's temple in Lybia  the goddess changed her beautiful hair into snakes and her body into that of a monster. So ugly and terrible was she that anyone looking on her face was immediately turned to stone. But Athena and other gods came to help Perseus. Athena lent him her brightly polished shield in which she warned him to look at the reflection of Medusa  only; Hades gave him his helmet which made its wearer invisible;and Hermes offered him his winged shoes so that he could travel fast over long distances. From the gods he also took a sword and a magic wallet.

  Acting on the advice of Athena,Perseus travelled west and first sought out the three grey women,known as the Graeae who knew the whereabouts of Medusa. These women had one tooth and one eye between them,so Perseus grabbed the tooth and the eye from them and forced them to tell him the truth. This the grey women did,and one night while flying across the sky the young man found Medusa sleeping on a rock. Flying down,he struck off the head of Medusa and turned back to the land where he had left his mother.





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