There was a king named Acrisius, and he had a daughter named Danae.
Acrisius was told by the Oracle of Apollo that Danae's son would kill
him. To prevent his daughter from ever having children Acrisius
locked Danae in a bronze tower.
The tower was dark, and did not have any doors. Thus Danae did not
have any contact with the outside world and would never marry or have
any children. The tower did have a small window. One day Zeus
entered the tower through the window. He told Danae that he wanted
her to be his wife. Zeus promised that if she became his wife he
would turn her prison into vast rolling fields as beautiful as any
ever seen. Danae accepted Zeus' proposal.
Later Acrisius noticed light coming from within the tower. He had a
wall torn down, and saw Danae sitting with a baby on her lap. Danae
looked at her father and told him that she had named the baby Persues.
Acrisius was angry and locked Danae and Persues in a large chest and
cast them out to sea.
They floated to the island of Seriphos where they were rescued by
Dictys. Dictys was the king of Seriphos' brother. Perseus grew to be
a strong young man, and protected his mother from the king of
Seriphos, Polydectes. Polydectes wanted to take Danae as his wife,
but she refused.
Polydectes devised a plan to get rid of Persues so he could have
Danae. Polydectes pretended to marry another woman. Everyone on the
island was required to give him a wedding present, including Perseus.
Unfortunately Perseus did not have any money and was unable to bring a
gift. Polydectes called Perseus a lazy-good for nothing, which
enraged Perseus. Perseus then said he could get the king any gift in
the world. So Polydectes told Perseus to bring him the head of the
gorgon Medusa and Perseus agreed.
Perseus wandered aimlessly for days searching for Medusa. He realized
that he was in trouble because the gorgons were monstrous creatures.
Instead of hair they had serpents on their head, they had brazen
hands, and if you looked at one you would be turned to stone. Just
then Perseus was greeted by Athena and Hermes. Hermes gave Perseus
his winged sandals and the sickle which Cronos used to overpower
Uranus. Athena gave Perseus a reflective shield to protect him from
being turned to stone.
Hermes told Perseus to find the Graeae. He was to have them tell him
how to get to the Nymphs of the North. Perseus was to find the Nymphs
of the North and they would give him the cap of darkness, a magic
wallet, and they would tell him where the Gorgons' lair was.
Perseus found the Graeae. They were three old women who all shared,
and fought over, one eye. He stole the eye, and ransomed it for
information. They reluctantly agreed and told him where the Nymphs of
the North were. Perseus returned the eye and set out for the Nymphs
of the North.
Once he located the Nymphs of the North they gave him the cap of
darkness which allowed its user to turn invisible. They also gave him
the magic wallet, and told him where the Gorgons' lair was.
Perseus located the lair, which was surrounded by statues that were
once men. Perseus saw Medusa and her sisters asleep through the
reflection in his shield. He flew down and cut off Medusa's head with
the sickle. Her sisters awoke and attacked Perseus, but he was able
to escape without suffering any injury.
On his way back to Seriphus Perseus came across Atlas holding the
world upon his shoulders. Perseus felt sorry for Atlas and turned him
to stone so he would no longer feel the weight of the world upon his
He then saw a woman chained to a stone near the ocean. Perseus
contacted her and she told him that her name was Andromada. She told
him that her mother had boasted that she was more beautiful than
Nereids. This angered Poseidon so he said that she had to be
sacrificed to a sea monster. Just as Andromada told Perseus her story
a sea monster emerged from the sea. Perseas showed Medusa's head to
the sea monster and it turned to stone.
Perseus took Andromada home and asked her father, King Cepheus, if
they could wed. He agreed and Perseus took Andromada with him. On
their way they stopped at Larisa so Perseus could compete in some
games, but during the discuss competition Perseus accidentally hit an
old man in the stands and killed him. The old man was Acrisius, and
his death fulfilled the prophecy. After they morned Acrisius' death
Andromada and Perseus left.
When they arrived at Seriphus the first person they met was Dictys.
Dictys told them that Polydectes never truly married. He said that
since Perseus' mother refused to marry Polydectes he forced her to be
his hand-maiden. Perseus was angry and left Andromada with Dictys.
Perseus stormed the castle and warned everybody who was his friend to
shield their eyes. He then lifted Medusa's head and turned Polydectes
and his courtiers into stone. Perseus and Andromada married and lived
long happy lives. Their descendants became great kings, the greatest
of which was Heracles who was the strongest man in the world.
In the end Perseus was killed by Dionysus, and he and Andromada were
put into the sky as constellations.