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therefore, sent him on a perilous adventure, to slay Medusa, one of the three huge Gorgons, half beast, half woman, whose very glance turned to stone all that they


looked on. But the gods were his friends. Athene, goddess of wisdom, who had protected Ulysses in all his 5 wanderings, gave him good counsel and lent him her

polished shield, that he might see the reflection of the monster in it, and need not look directly at her. Hermes, messenger of the gods, who had helped Ulysses in Circe's isle, gave him his winged sandals and his famous sword, 5 and from another god he received a magic cap which made the wearer invisible. Thus equipped, he flew over land and sea to the far western isle where dwelt the Gorgons, found them asleep, drew near till he saw the face of Medusa in the polished shield, severed her head with one sweep of his 10 mighty sword, and seizing it by its snaky locks, fled invisibly through the air beyond the pursuit of the remaining Gorgons. And then his magic sandals, of their own accord, bore him across the desert of Sahara to another adventure, of which you will now read.



So Perseus flitted onward to the northeast over many a league of sea, till he came to the rolling sand hills, and the dreary Libyan shore.

And he flitted on across the desert, over rock ledges, and banks of shingle, and level wastes of sand, and shell 20 drifts bleaching in the sunshine, and the skeletons of great sea monsters, and dead bones of ancient giants, strewn up and down upon the old sea floor. And as he went, the blood drops fell to the earth from the Gorgon's head and became poisonous asps and adders, which breed in the 25 desert to this day.

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Out of the north the sand storms rushed upon him, blood-red pillars and wreaths, blotting out the noonday sun; and Perseus fled before them, lest he should be choked by the burning dust. At last the gale fell calm, and he tried to go northward again; but again came 5 down the sand storms, and swept him back into the waste, and then all was calm and cloudless as before. Seven days he strove against the storms, and seven days he was driven back, till he was spent with thirst and hunger, and his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth. Here and there he 10 fancied that he saw a fair lake, and the sunbeams shining on the water; but when he came to it, it vanished at his feet, and there was naught but burning sand. And if he had not been of the race of the Immortals, he would have perished in the waste; but his life was strong within him, 15 because it was more than man's.

Then he cried to Athene, and said: “Oh, fair and pure, if thou hearest me, wilt thou leave me here to die of drought? I have brought thee the Gorgon's head at thy bidding, and hitherto thou hast prospered my journey;20 dost thou desert me at the last? Else why will not these immortal sandals prevail, even against the desert storms? Shall I never see my mother more, and the hills of Greece?"

So he prayed; and after he had prayed there was a 25 great silence. The heaven was still above his head, and the sand was still beneath his feet; and Perseus looked


up, but there was nothing but the blinding sun in the blinding blue; and round him, but there was nothing but the blinding sand.

And Perseus stood still awhile, and waited, and said, 5" Surely I am not here without the will of the Immortals, for Athene will not lie. Were not these sandals to lead me in the right road? Then the road in which I have tried to go must be a wrong road."

Then suddenly his ears were opened, and he heard the 10 sound of running water. And at that his heart was lifted up, though he scarcely dared believe his ears; and weary as he was, he hurried forward, though he scarcely could stand upright; and within a bowshot of him was a glen in the sand, and marble rocks, and date trees, and a 15 lawn of gay green grass. And a streamlet trickled among the rocks, and a pleasant breeze rustled in the dry date branches; and Perseus laughed for joy, and leapt down the cliff, and drank of the cool water, and ate of the dates, and slept upon the turf, and leapt up and went 20 forward again: but not toward the north this time; for he said "Surely Athene has sent me hither, and will not have me go homeward yet. What if there be another noble deed to be done, before I see the sunny hills of Greece?"

So he went east, and east forever, by fresh oases and fountains, date palms, and lawns of grass, till he saw before him a mighty mountain wall, all rose-red in the

setting sun. Then he towered in the air like an eagle, for his limbs were strong again; and he flew all night across the mountain till the day began to break, and rosyfingered dawn came blushing up the sky. And then, behold, beneath him was the long green garden of Egypt, 5 and the shining stream of Nile.

And he saw cities walled up to heaven, and temples, and obelisks, and pyramids, and giant gods of stone. And he came down amid fields of barley, and flax, and millet, and clambering gourds; and saw the people com-10 ing out of the gates of a great city, and setting to work, each in his place, among the water courses, parting the streams among the plants cunningly with their feet, according to the wisdom of the Egyptians. But when they saw him they all stopped their work, and gathered round 15 him, and cried :

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"Who art thou, fair youth? and what bearest thou beneath thy goatskin there? Surely, thou art one of the Immortals; for thy skin is white like ivory, and ours is red like clay. Thy hair is like threads of gold, and ours 20 is black and curled. Surely thou art one of the Immortals;" and they would have worshiped him then and there; but Perseus said:

"I am not one of the Immortals; but I am a hero of the Greeks. And I have slain the Gorgon in the wilder-25 ness, and bear her head with me. Give me food, therefore, that I may go forward and finish my work."

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