THE CARRYING OF THE ARGO
ITH the terrible weight of the ship upon their shoulders the
Argonauts made their way across the desert, following the tracks
of Poseidon's golden-maned horse. Like a wounded serpent that
drags with pain its length along, they went day after day across
that limitless land.
A day came when they saw the great tracks of the horse
 no more. A wind had come up and had covered them with sand. With
the mighty weight of the ship upon their shoulders, with the sun
beating upon their heads, and with no marks on the desert to
guide them, the heroes stood there, and it seemed to them that
the blood must gush up and out of their hearts.
Then Zetes and Calais, sons of the North Wind, rose up upon their
wings to strive to get sight of the sea. Up, up, they soared. And
then as a man sees, or thinks he sees, at the month's beginning,
the moon through a bank of clouds, Zetes and Calais, looking over
the measureless land, saw the gleam of water. They shouted to the
Argonauts; they marked the way for them, and wearily, but with
good hearts, the heroes went upon the way.
They came at last to the shore of what seemed to be a wide inland
sea. They set Argo down from off their over-wearied shoulders and
they let her keel take water once more.
All salt and brackish was that water; they dipped their hands
into and tasted the salt. Orpheus was able to name the water they
had come to; it was that lake that was called after Triton, the
son of Nereus, the ancient one of the sea. They set up an altar
and they made sacrifices in thanksgiving to the gods.
They had come to water at last, but now they had to seek for
other water—for the sweet water that they could drink. All
around them they looked, but they saw no sign of a spring. And
then they felt a wind blow upon them—a wind that had in it not
the dust of the desert but the fragrance of growing things.
Toward where that wind blew from they went.
 As they went on they saw a great shape against the sky; they saw
mountainous shoulders bowed. Orpheus bade them halt and turn
their faces with reverence toward that great shape: for this was
Atlas the Titan, the brother of Prometheus, who stood there to
hold up the sky on his shoulders.
Then they were near the place that the fragrance had blown from:
there was a garden there; the only fence that ran around it was a
lattice of silver. "Surely there are springs in the garden," the
Argonauts said. "We will enter this fair garden now and slake our
Orpheus bade them walk reverently, for all around them, he said,
was sacred ground. This garden was the Garden of the Hesperides
that was watched over by the Daughters of the Evening Land. The
Argonauts looked through the silver lattice; they saw trees with
lovely fruit, and they saw three maidens moving through the
garden with watchful eyes. In this garden grew the tree that had
the golden apples that Zeus gave to Hera as a wedding gift.
They saw the tree on which the golden apples grew. The maidens
went to it and then looked watchfully all around them. They saw
the faces of the Argonauts looking through the silver lattice and
they cried out, one to the other, and they joined their hands
around the tree.
But Orpheus called to them, and the maidens understood the divine
speech of Orpheus. He made the Daughters of the Evening Land know
that they who stood before the lattice were
 men who reverenced
the gods, who would not strive to enter the forbidden garden. The
maidens came toward them. Beautiful as the singing of Orpheus was
their utterance, but what they said was a complaint and a lament.
Their lament was for the dragon Ladon, that dragon with a hundred
heads that guarded sleeplessly the tree that had the golden
apples. Now that dragon was slain. With arrows that had been
dipped in the poison of the Hydra's blood their dragon, Ladon,
had been slain.
The Daughters of the Evening Land sang of how a mortal had come
into the garden that they watched over. He had a great bow, and
with his arrow he slew the dragon that guarded the golden apples.
The golden apples he had taken away; they had come back to the
tree they had been plucked from, for no mortal might keep them in
his possession. So the maidens sang—Hespere, Eretheis, and
Ægle—and they complained that now, unhelped by the
hundred-headed dragon, they had to keep guard over the tree.
The Argonauts knew of whom they told the tale—Heracles, their
comrade. Would that Heracles were with them now!
The Hesperides told them of Heracles—of how the springs in the
garden dried up because of his plucking the golden apples. He
came out of the garden thirsting. Nowhere could he find a spring
of water. To yonder great rock he went. He smote it with his foot
and water came out in full flow. Then he, leaning on his hands
and with his chest upon the ground,
 drank and drank from the
water that flowed from the rifted rock.
The Argonauts looked to where the rock stood. They caught the
sound of water. They carried Medea over. And then, company after
company, all huddled together, they stooped down and drank their
fill of the clear good water. With lips wet with the water they
cried to each other, "Heracles! Although he is not with us, in
very truth Heracles has saved his comrades from deadly thirst!"
They saw his footsteps printed upon the rocks, and they followed
them until they led to the sand where no footsteps stay.
Heracles! How glad his comrades would have been if they could
have had sight of him then! But it was long ago—before he had
sailed with them—that Heracles had been here.
Still hearing their complaint they turned back to the lattice, to
where the Daughters of the Evening Land stood. The Daughters of
the Evening Land bent their heads to listen to what the Argonauts
told one another, and, seeing them bent to listen, Orpheus told a
story about one who had gone across the Libyan desert, about one
who was a hero like unto Heracles.
THE STORY OF PERSEUS
Beyond where Atlas stands there is a cave where the strange
women, the ancient daughters of Phorcys, live. They have been
gray from their birth. They have but one eye and one
between them, and they pass the eye and the tooth, one to the
other, when they would see or eat. They are called the Graiai,
these two sisters.
Up to the cave where they lived a youth once came. He was
beardless, and the garb he wore was torn and travel-stained, but
he had shapeliness and beauty. In his leathern belt there
was an exceedingly bright sword; this sword was not straight like
the swords we carry, but it was hooked like a sickle. The strange
youth with the bright, strange sword came very quickly and very
silently up to the cave where the Graiai lived and looked over a
high boulder into it.
One was sitting munching acorns with the single tooth. The other
had the eye in her hand. She was holding it to her forehead and
looking into the back of the cave. These two ancient women, with
their gray hair falling over them like thick fleeces, and with
faces that were only forehead and cheeks and nose and mouth, were
strange creatures truly. Very silently the youth stood looking at
"Sister, sister," cried the one who was munching acorns, "sister,
turn your eye this way. I heard the stir of something."
The other turned, and with the eye placed against her forehead
looked out to the opening of the cave. The youth drew back behind
the boulder. "Sister, sister, there is nothing there," said the
one with the eye.
Then she said: "Sister, give me the tooth for I would eat my
acorns. Take the eye and keep watch."
 The one who was eating held out the tooth, and the one who was
watching held out the eye. The youth darted into the cave.
Standing between the eyeless sisters, he took with one hand the
tooth and with the other the eye.
"Sister, sister, have you taken the eye?"
"I have not taken the eye. Have you taken the tooth?"
"I have not taken the tooth."
"Some one has taken the eye, and some one has taken the tooth."
They stood together, and the youth watched their blinking faces
as they tried to discover who had come into the cave, and who had
taken the eye and the tooth.
Then they said, screaming together: "Who ever has taken the eye
and the tooth from the Graiai, the ancient daughters of Phorcys,
may Mother Night smother him."
The youth spoke. "Ancient daughters of Phorcys," he said,
"Graiai, I would not rob from you. I have come to your cave only
to ask the way to a place."
"Ah, it is a mortal, a mortal," screamed the sisters. "Well,
mortal, what would you have from the Graiai?"
"Ancient Graiai," said the youth, "I would have you tell me, for
you alone know, where the nymphs dwell who guard the three magic
treasures—the cap of darkness, the shoes of flight, and the
"We will not tell you, we will not tell you that," screamed the
two ancient sisters.
 "I will keep the eye and the tooth," said the youth, "and I will
give them to one who will help me."
"Give me the eye and I will tell you," said one. "Give me the
tooth and I will tell you," said the other. The youth put the eye
in the hand of one and the tooth in the hand of the other, but he
held their skinny hands in his strong hands until they should
tell him where the nymphs dwelt who guarded the magic treasures.
The Gray Ones told him. Then the youth with the bright sword left
the cave. As he went out he saw on the ground a shield of bronze,
and he took it with him.
To the other side of where Atlas stands he went. There he came
upon the nymphs in their valley. They had long dwelt there,
hidden from gods and men, and they were startled to see a
stranger youth come into their hidden valley. They fled away.
Then the youth sat on the ground, his head bent like a man who is
The youngest and the fairest of the nymphs came to him at last.
"Why have you come, and why do you sit here in such great
trouble, youth?" said she. And then she said: "What is this
strange sickle-sword that you wear? Who told you the way to our
dwelling place? What name have you?"
"I have come here," said the youth, and he took the bronze shield
upon his knees and began to polish it, "I have come here because
I want you, the nymphs who guard them, to give to me the cap of
darkness and the shoes of flight and the magic pouch. I must gain
these things; without them I must go to
 my death. Why I must gain
them you will know from my story."
When he said that he had come for the three magic treasures that
they guarded, the kind nymph was more startled than she and her
sisters had been startled by the appearance of the strange youth
in their hidden valley. She turned away from him. But she looked
again and she saw that he was beautiful and brave looking. He had
spoken of his death. The nymph stood looking at him pitifully,
and the youth, with the bronze shield laid beside his knees and
the strange hooked sword lying across it, told her his story.
"I am Perseus," he said, "and my grandfather, men say, is king in
Argos. His name is Acrisius. Before I was born a prophecy was
made to him that the son of Danaë, his daughter, would slay him.
Acrisius was frightened by the prophecy, and when I was born he
put my mother and myself into a chest, and he sent us adrift upon
the waves of the sea.
"I did not know what a terrible peril I was in, for I was an
infant newly born. My mother was so hopeless that she came near
to death. But the wind and the waves did not destroy us: they
brought us to a shore; a shepherd found the chest, and he opened
it and brought my mother and myself out of it alive. The land we
had come to was Seriphus. The shepherd who found the chest and
who rescued my mother and myself was the brother of the king. His
name was Dictys.
 "In the shepherd's wattled house my mother stayed with me, a
little infant, and in that house I grew from babyhood to
childhood, and from childhood to boyhood. He was a kind man, this
shepherd Dictys. His brother Polydectes had put him away from the
palace, but Dictys did not grieve for that, for he was happy
minding his sheep upon the hillside, and he was happy in his
little hut of wattles and clay.
"Polydectes, the king, was seldom spoken to about his brother,
and it was years before he knew of the mother and child who had
been brought to live in Dictys's hut. But at last he heard of us,
for strange things began to be said about my mother—how she was
beautiful, and how she looked like one who had been favored by
the gods. Then one day when he was hunting, Polydectes the king
came to the but of Dictys the shepherd.
"He saw Danaë, my mother, there. By her looks he knew that she
was a king's daughter and one who had been favored by the gods.
He wanted her for his wife. But my mother hated this harsh and
overbearing king, and she would not wed with him. Often he came
storming around the shepherd's hut, and at last my mother had to
take refuge from him in a temple. There she became the priestess
of the goddess.
"I was taken to the palace of Polydectes, and there I was brought
up. The king still stormed around where my mother was, more and
more bent on making her marry him. If she had not been in the
temple where she was under the
pro-  tection of the goddess he would
have wed her against her will.
"But I was growing up now, and I was able to give some protection
to my mother. My arm was a strong one, and Polydectes knew that
if he wronged my mother in any way, I had the will and the power
to be deadly to him. One day I heard him say before his princes
and his lords that he would wed, and would wed one who was not
Danaë, I was overjoyed to hear him say this. He asked the lords
and the princes to come to the wedding feast; they declared they
would, and they told him of the presents they would bring.
"Then King Polydectes turned to me and he asked me to come to the
wedding feast. I said I would come. And then, because I was young
and full of the boast of youth, and because the king was now
ceasing to be a terror to me, I said that I would bring to his
wedding feast the head of the Gorgon.
"The king smiled when he heard me say this, but he smiled not as
a good man smiles when he hears the boast of youth. He smiled,
and he turned to the princes and lords, and he said: 'Perseus will
come, and he will bring a greater gift than any of you, for he
will bring the head of her whose gaze turns living creatures into
"When I heard the king speak so grimly about my boast the
fearfulness of the thing I had spoken of doing came over me. I
thought for an instant that the Gorgon's head appeared before me,
and that I was then and there turned into stone.
 "The day of the wedding feast came. I came and I brought no gift.
I stood with my head hanging for shame. Then the princes and the
lords came forward, and they showed the great gifts of horses
that they had brought. I thought that the king would forget about
me and about my boast. And then I heard him call my name.
'Perseus,' he said, 'Perseus, bring before us now the Gorgon's
head that, as you told us, you would bring for the wedding gift.'
"The princes and lords and people looked toward me, and I was
filled with a deeper shame. I had to say that I had failed to
bring a present. Then that harsh and overbearing king shouted at
me. 'Go forth,' he said, 'go forth and fetch the present that you
spoke of. If you do not bring it remain forever out of my
country, for in Seriphus we will have no empty boasters.' The
lords and the princes applauded what the king said; the people
were sad for me and sad for my mother, but they might not do
anything to help me, so just and so due to me did the words of
the king seem. There was no help for it, and I had to go from the
country of Seriphus, leaving my mother at the mercy of
"I bade good-by to my sorrowful mother and I went from
Seriphus—from that land that I might not return to without the Gorgon's
head. I traveled far from that country. One day I sat down in a
lonely place and prayed to the gods that my strength might be
equal to the will that now moved in me—the will to take the
Gorgon's head, and take from my name
 the shame of a broken
promise, and win back to Seriphus to save my mother from the
harshness of the king.
"When I looked up I saw one standing before me. He was a youth,
too, but I knew by the way he moved, and I knew by the brightness
of his face and eyes, that he was of the immortals. I raised my
hands in homage to him, and he came near me. 'Perseus,' he said,
'if you have the courage to strive, the way to win the Gorgon's
head will be shown you.' I said that I had the courage to strive,
and he knew that I was making no boast.
"He gave me this bright sickle-sword that I carry. He told me by
what ways I might come near enough to the Gorgons without being
turned into stone by their gaze. He told me how I might slay the
one of the three Gorgons who was not immortal, and how, having
slain her, I might take her head and flee without being torn to
pieces by her sister Gorgons.
"Then I knew that I should have to come on the Gorgons from the
air. I knew that having slain the one that could be slain I
should have to fly with the speed of the wind. And I knew that
that speed even would not save me—I should
have to be hidden in
my flight. To win the head and save myself I would need three
magic things—the shoes of flight and the magic pouch, and the
dogskin cap of Hades that makes its wearer invisible.
"The youth said: 'The magic pouch and the shoes of flight and the
dogskin cap of Hades are in the keeping of the nymphs
dwelling place no mortal knows. I may not tell you where their
dwelling place is. But from the Gray Ones, from the ancient
daughters of Phorcys who live in a cave near where Atlas stands,
you may learn where their dwelling place is.'
"Thereupon he told me how I might come to the Graiai, and how I
might get them to tell me where you, the nymphs, had your
dwelling. The one who spoke to me was Hermes, whose dwelling is
on Olympus. By this sickle-sword that he gave me you will know
that I speak the truth."
Perseus ceased speaking, and she who was the youngest and fairest
of the nymphs came nearer to him. She knew that he spoke
truthfully, and besides she had pity for the youth. "But we are
the keepers of the magic treasures," she said, "and some one
whose need is greater even than yours may some time require them
from us. But will you swear that you will bring the magic
treasures back to us when you have slain the Gorgon and have
taken her head?"
Perseus declared that he would bring the magic treasures back to
the nymphs and leave them once more in their keeping. Then the
nymph who had compassion for him called to the others. They spoke
together while Perseus stayed far away from them, polishing his
shield of bronze. At last the nymph who had listened to him came
back, the others following her. They brought to Perseus and they
put into his hands the
 things they had guarded—the cap made from
dogskin that had been brought up out of Hades, a pair of winged
shoes, and a long pouch that he could hang across his shoulder.
And so with the shoes of flight and the cap of darkness and the
magic pouch, Perseus went to seek the Gorgons. The sickle-sword
that Hermes gave him was at his side, and on his arm he held the
bronze shield that was now well polished.
He went through the air, taking a way that the nymphs had shown
him. He came to Oceanus that was the rim around the world. He saw
forms that were of living creatures all in stone, and he knew
that he was near the place where the Gorgons had their lair.
Then, looking upon the surface of his polished shield, he saw the
Gorgons below him. Two were covered with hard serpent scales;
they had tusks that were long and were like the tusks of boars,
and they had hands of gleaming brass and wings of shining gold.
Still looking upon the shining surface of his shield Perseus went
down and down. He saw the third sister—she who was not immortal.
She had a woman's face and form, and her countenance was
beautiful, although there was something deadly in its fairness.
The two scaled and winged sisters were asleep, but the third,
Medusa, was awake, and she was tearing with her hands a lizard
that had come near her.
Upon her head was a tangle of serpents all with heads raised as
though they were hissing. Still looking into the mirror of
shield Perseus came down and over Medusa. He turned his head away
from her. Then, with a sweep of the sickle-sword he took her head
off. There was no scream from the Gorgon, but the serpents upon
her head hissed loudly.
Still with his face turned from it he lifted up the head by its
tangle of serpents. He put it into the magic pouch. He rose up in
the air. But now the Gorgon sisters were awake. They had heard
the hiss of Medusa's serpents, and now they looked upon her
headless body. They rose up on their golden wings, and their
brazen hands were stretched out to tear the one who had slain
Medusa. As they flew after him they screamed aloud.
Although he flew like the wind the Gorgon sisters would have
overtaken him if he had been plain to their eyes. But the dogskin
cap of Hades saved him, for the Gorgon sisters did not know
whether he was above or below them, behind or before them. On
Perseus went, flying toward where Atlas stood. He flew over this
place, over Libya. Drops of blood from Medusa's head fell down
upon the desert. They were changed and became the deadly serpents
that are on these sands and around these rocks. On and on Perseus
flew toward Atlas and toward the hidden valley where the nymphs
who were again to guard the magic treasures had their dwelling
place. But before he came to the nymphs Perseus had another
In Ethopia, which is at the other side of Libya, there ruled a
 king whose name was Cepheus. This king had permitted his queen to
boast that she was more beautiful than the nymphs of the sea. In
punishment for the queen's impiety and for the king's folly
Poseidon sent a monster out of the sea to waste that country.
Every year the monster came, destroying more and more of the
country of Ethopia. Then the king asked of an oracle what he
should do to save his land and his people. The oracle spoke of a
dreadful thing that he would have to do—he would have to
sacrifice his daughter, the beautiful Princess Andromeda.
The king was forced by his savage people to take the maiden
Andromeda and chain her to a rock on the seashore, leaving her
there for the monster to devour her, satisfying himself with that
Perseus, flying near, heard the maiden's laments. He saw her
lovely body bound with chains to the rock. He came near her,
taking the cap of darkness off his head. She saw him, and she
bent her head in shame, for she thought that he would think that
it was for some dreadful fault of her own that she had been left
chained in that place.
Her father had stayed near. Perseus saw him, and called to him,
and bade him tell why the maiden was chained to the rock. The
king told Perseus of the sacrifice that he had been forced to
make. Then Perseus came near the maiden, and he saw how she
looked at him with pleading eyes.
Then Perseus made her father promise that he would give
 Andromeda to him for his wife if he should slay the sea monster.
Gladly Cepheus promised this. Then Perseus once again drew his
sickle-sword; by the rock to which Andromeda was still chained he
waited for sight of the sea monster.
It came rolling in from the open sea, a shapeless and unsightly
thing. With the shoes of flight upon his feet Perseus rose above
it. The monster saw his shadow upon the water, and savagely it
went to attack the shadow. Perseus swooped down as an eagle
swoops down; with his sickle-sword he attacked it, and he struck
the hook through the monster's shoulder. Terribly it reared up
from the sea. Perseus rose over it, escaping its wide-opened
mouth with its treble rows of fangs. Again he swooped and struck
at it. Its hide was covered all over with hard scales and with
the shells of sea things, but Perseus's sword struck through it.
It reared up again, spouting water mixed with blood. On a rock
near the rock that Andromeda was chained to Perseus alighted. The
monster, seeing him, bellowed and rushed swiftly through the
water to overwhelm him. As it reared up he plunged the sword
again and again into its body. Down into the water the monster
sank, and water mixed with blood was spouted up from the depths
into which it sank.
Then was Andromeda loosed from her chains. Perseus, the
conqueror, lifted up the fainting maiden and carried her back to
the king's palace. And Cepheus there renewed his promise to give
her in marriage to her deliverer.
Perseus went on his way. He came to the hidden valley
 where the
nymphs had their dwelling place, and he restored to them the
three magic treasures that they had given him—the cap of
darkness, the shoes of flight, and the magic pouch. And these
treasures are still there, and the hero who can win his way to
the nymphs may have them as Perseus had them.
Again he returned to the place where he had found Andromeda
chained. With face averted he drew forth the Gorgon's head from
where he had hidden it between the rocks. He made a bag for it
out of the horny skin of the monster he had slain. Then, carrying
his tremendous trophy, he went to the palace of King Cepheus to
claim his bride.
Now before her father had thought of sacrificing her to the sea
monster he had offered Andromeda in marriage to a prince of
Ethopia—to a prince whose name was Phineus. Phineus did not
strive to save Andromeda. But, hearing that she had been
delivered from the monster, he came to take her for his wife; he
came to Cepheus's palace, and he brought with him a thousand
The palace of Cepheus was filled with armed men when Perseus
entered it. He saw Andromeda on a raised place in the hall. She
was pale as when she was chained to the rock, and when she saw
him in the palace she uttered a cry of gladness.
Cepheus, the craven king, would have let him who had come with
the armed bands take the maiden. Perseus came beside
and he made his claim. Phineus spoke insolently to him, and then
he urged one of his captains to strike Perseus down. Many sprang
forward to attack him. Out of the bag Perseus drew Medusa's head.
He held it before those who were bringing strife into the hall.
They were turned to stone. One of Cepheus's men wished to defend
Perseus: he struck at the captain who had come near; his sword
made a clanging sound as it struck this one who had looked upon
Perseus went from the land of Ethopia taking fair Andromeda with
him. They went into Greece, for he had thought of going to Argos,
to the country that his grandfather ruled over. At this very time
Acrisius got tidings of Danaë, and her son, and he knew that they
had not perished on the waves of the sea. Fearful of the prophecy
that told he would be slain by his grandson and fearing that he
would come to Argos to seek him, Acrisius fled out of his
He came into Thessaly. Perseus and Andromeda were there. Now, one
day the old king was brought to games that were being celebrated
in honor of a dead hero. He was leaning on his staff, watching a
youth throw a metal disk, when something in that youth's
appearance made him want to watch him more closely. About him
there was something of a being of the upper air; it made Acrisius
think of a brazen tower and of a daughter whom he had shut up
He moved so that he might come nearer to the disk-thrower. But as
he left where he had been standing he came into the
 line of the
thrown disk. It struck the old man on the temple. He fell down
dead, and as he fell the people cried out his name—"Acrisius,
King Acrisius!" Then Perseus knew whom the disk, thrown by his
hand, had slain.
And because he had slain the king by chance Perseus would not go
to Argos, nor take over the kingdom that his grandfather had
reigned over. With Andromeda he went to Seriphus where his mother
was. And in Seriphus there still reigned Polydectes,who had put
upon him the terrible task of winning the Gorgon's head.
He came to Seriphus and he left Andromeda in the hut of Dictys
the shepherd. No one knew him; he heard his name spoken of as
that of a youth who had gone on a foolish quest and who would
never again be heard of. To the temple where his mother was a
priestess he came. Guards were placed all around it. He heard
his mother's voice and it was raised in lament: "Walled up here
and given over to hunger I shall be made go to Polydectes's house
and become his wife. O ye gods, have ye no pity for Danaë, the
mother of Perseus?"
Perseus cried aloud, and his mother heard his voice and her moans
ceased. He turned around and he went to the palace of Polydectes,
The king received him with mockeries. "I will let you stay in
Seriphus for a day," he said, "because I would have you at a
marriage feast. I have vowed that Danaë, taken from the temple
where she sulks, will be my wife by to-morrow's sunset."
 So Polydectes said, and the lords and princes who were around him
mocked at Perseus and flattered the king. Perseus went from them
then. The next day he came back to the palace. But in his hands
now there was a dread thing—the bag made from the hide of the
sea monster that had in it the Gorgon's head.
He saw his mother. She was brought in white and fainting,
thinking that she would now have to wed the harsh and overbearing
king. Then she saw her son, and hope came into her face.
The king seeing Perseus, said: "Step forward, O youngling, and
see your mother wed to a mighty man. Step forward to witness a
marriage, and then depart, for it is not right that a youth that
makes promises and does not keep them should stay in a land that
I rule over. Step forward now, you with the empty hands."
But not with empty hands did Perseus step forward. He shouted
out: "I have brought something to you at last, O king—a present
to you and your mocking friends. But you, O my mother, and you, O
my friends, avert your faces from what I have brought." Saying
this Perseus drew out the Gorgon's head. Holding it by the snaky
locks he stood before the company. His mother and his friends
averted their faces. But Polydectes and his insolent friends
looked full upon what Perseus showed. "This youth would strive to
frighten us with some conjuror's trick," they said. They said no
more, for they
 became as stones, and as stone images they still
stand in that hall in Seriphus.
He went to the shepherd's hut, and he brought Dictys from it with
Andromeda. Dictys he made king in Polydectes's stead. Then with
Danaë and Andromeda, his mother and his wife, he went from
He did not go to Argos, the country that his grandfather had
ruled over, although the people there wanted Perseus to come to
them, and be king over them. He took the kingdom of Tiryns in
exchange for that of Argos, and there he lived with Andromeda,
his lovely wife out of Ethopia. They had a son named Perses who
became the parent of the Persian people.
The sickle-sword that had slain the Gorgon went back to Hermes,
and Hermes took Medusa's head also. That head Hermes's divine
sister set upon her shield—Medusa's head upon the shield of
Pallas Athene. O may Pallas Athene guard us all, and bring us out
of this land of sands and stone where are the deadly serpents
that have come from the drops of blood that fell from the
They turned away from the Garden of the Daughters of the Evening
Land. The Argonauts turned from where the giant shape of Atlas
stood against the sky and they went toward the Tritonian Lake.
But not all of them reached the Argo. On his way back to the
ship, Nauplius, the helmsman, met his death.
A sluggish serpent was in his way—it was not a serpent that
 would strike at one who turned from it. Nauplius trod upon it,
and the serpent lifted its head up and bit his foot. They raised
him on their shoulders and they hurried back with him. But his
limbs became numb, and when they laid him down on the shore of
the lake he stayed moveless. Soon he grew cold. They dug a grave
for Nauplius beside the lake, and in that desert land they set up
his helmsman's oar in the middle of his tomb of heaped stones.
And now like a snake that goes writhing this way and that way and
that cannot find the cleft in the rock that leads to its lair,
the Argo went hither and thither striving to find an outlet from
that lake. No outlet could they find and the way of their
homegoing seemed lost to them again. Then Orpheus prayed to the
son of Nereus, to Triton, whose name was on that lake, to aid
Then Triton appeared. He stretched out his hand and showed them
the outlet to the sea. And Triton spoke in friendly wise to the
heroes, bidding them go upon their way in joy. "And as for
labor," he said, "let there be no grieving because of that, for
limbs that have youthful vigor should still toil."
They took up the oars and they pulled toward the sea, and Triton,
the friendly immortal, helped them on. He laid hold upon Argo's
keel and he guided her through the water. The Argonauts saw him
beneath the water; his body, from his
 head down to his waist, was
fair and great and like to the body of one of the other
immortals. But below his body was like a great fish's, forking
this way and that. He moved with fins that were like the horns of
the new moon. Triton helped Argo along until they came into the
open sea. Then he plunged down into the abyss. The heroes shouted
their thanks to him. Then they looked at each other and embraced
each other with joy, for the sea that touched upon the land of
Greece was open before them.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics