THE LEGEND OF PERSEUS AND ANDROMEDA
Andromeda was an Ethiopian princess, the beloved daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia. Queen Cassiopeia was a vain woman, and bragged that she was more beautiful than Juno, the queen ofthe gods. In order to avenge the insult, Neptune sent a sea monster to ravagethe Ethiopian coast.
The horrified king consulted Ammon, the oracle of Jupiter, who said that Neptune could be appeased only by sacrificing Cassiopeia's beautiful virgin daughter, Andromeda, to the sea monster. So Andromeda was bound nakedto a rock on the shore exposed to the monster's attentions. (1)
Perseus, having just killed the Gorgon Medusa, was flying over the shoreline when he saw a figure on the rocks. At first when Perseus saw the princess, her arms chained to the hard rock, he thought she was a marble statue had not the light breeze stirred her hair, and warm tears streamed from her eyes. Without realizing it, Perseus fell instantly in love. Amazed at the sight of such rare beauty, he hovered in the air above her and called out: "You should not be wearing such chains as these. The proper bonds for you are those which bind the hearts of fond lovers! Tell me your name, I pray, and the name of your country, and say why you are in chains."
At first Andromeda was silent and would have concealed her body modestly behind her hands, had they not been bound fast. All she could do was to cry, her eyes filling with more tears. When Perseus persisted with his questions she became afraid lest her unwillingness to talk might seem due to guilt; so she told him the name of her country, and her own name, and she also told him how her mother, a beautiful woman, had been too confident in her beauty.
Andromeda's words turned to screams as the waters parted and from the ocean depths the huge monster rose. Close at hand her sorrowing father and mother were both in deep distress. Perseus calls to Andromeda's parents that he will slay the monster if they agree to give him their daughter's hand in marriage. They of course give him their consent, and Perseus immediately holds aloft thehead of the Gorgon Medusa. (2) The monster, attracted by the sudden movement above, views Medusa's head, turns to stone and sinks below the waves.
Perseus then frees Andromeda from the rock (3) and carries her aloft in his armsintothe sky (4) and later the two lovers joyously marry.
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