The Heroes or Greek Fairy Tales for my Children

Page: 24

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 Athené, 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 Athené, as he had seen her in Seriphos, seven long years before; and she stood and called him by name, and said—