The story surrounding the birth of the Greek hero, Perseus, is one that is quite frayed, which is a misfortune for scholars and lover of stories alike, given that he is an essential part of Grecian myth. The following is my envisioned collective of the beginning story of the youth that would one day slay Medusa, the Gorgon.
There was once an unwise King called Acrisius. He was the King of Argos, a small kingdom North of Sparta and South of Corinth, who journeyed to Delphi to seek the advice of the Oracle who dwelt there. There the Oracle gave wisdom to those who would seek it. King Acrisius, sought the direction of the gods and what his future would hold because although he had many daughters, he had no son. For a proud King the lack of sons simply would not do.
So the wise Oracle said to him,"Acrisius, you shall never have the son you desire. There will indeed be a boy. You will have a grandson by your most beautiful of daughters, Danae. He shall one day rule as a hero in the stars, and as King over your land and others."
Enraged, Acrisius cried, " A boy, but not my own to inherit my kingdom.At least he will be from my most beautiful and beloved Danae."
"King of Argos," the Oracle then stated, "There is one thing more that I must explain to you. It is by this boy's hand that you will die."
Enraged and overwhelmed, the King left. He returned to Argos and his daughter Danae. Fitful on his homeward travel, he decided that killing his his own daughter would be too terrible a price to pay for his own safety, so upon arrival he would lock her away. The prison he chose was a sunken tower of bronze with only a small hole in the ceiling for light and air. Danae was to be kept there until she would not be able to bear children. In this dismal container she lived with her nursemaid, as the days and months rolled into a year. On the anniversary of her imprisonment, Zeus, King of the gods, looked down and saw the her trapped in the bronze prison and immediately wanted her. So, he came to her in the form of a mist of gold that fell from the hole in the ceiling, and Danae became pregnant despite her careful imprisonment.
Although her father had spared her life, she knew in her heart that the life of her infant son would be swiftly ended if anyone were to ever find out. So Danae, concealed the birth, and for a few precious years she and her son were safe living in their small bronze prison. Until one day, Acrisius was out on a walk intending to check in on his imprisoned daughter. He waited a moment to hear how she fared, when he heard the echo of a child's laughter behind the bronze door. Then, the King heard Danae's sweet voiced reply to the child, only to be greeted with more laughter. Acrisius could not believe his own ears. With an immediate rage, he commanded that the door be opened, and once ajar, before him sat a small boy in his mother's arms. Of course the boy was the King's young grandson, called Perseus. Enraged, he pulled his sword ans sheathed it in the belly of his daughter's nursemaid, and overwhelmed cried,
"Whose child is this? Who is its father? How is this possible?"
"My King, Father, I have not wronged you, nor left my prison of bronze! Perseus is a gift and the son of Zeus himself," Danae pleaded desperately.
Greatly afraid, he took the two of them to the Mount Lykaion, where there was a great altar to Zeus, and made her swear an oath upon her life and that of her son about who the boy's father was. She did swear, and when nothing occurred, the angry King had a great chest brought to the shore. In the chest he placed his beautiful daughter Danae and her young son Perseus, saying to them,
"If he is a blessed son of Zeus, then you will survive this and I will see you no more." Then, closing and locking the lid, they were given up to Poseidon, and the King's men launched into the sea. Relived that he had solved his problem, he went home to his palace, with a heavy heart, and yet the nagging fear in the bottom of his stomach did not go away as he had wished it would.
The chest was in fact protected by the hand of Zeus, and it drifted on the waves to an island called Seriphos where the King Polydectes reigned. He was a greedy man, with few scruples. His brother was quite a different man though, decent, with a simple nature, and called Dictes. He was out fishing and saw the large and unusual box floating in the surf. The fisherman called to his crew and together with a net, they pulled it from the sea. He opened the box and his eyes fell upon a beautiful woman, and a young boy. Welcoming them, he introduced himself and told them that he would take care of them there on the island. And so Perseus and his mother were safe living in the company of the fisherman, for a while.
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