Gods and Heroes or The Kingdom of Jupiter - R. E. Francillon
Once upon a time there was a king of Argon named Acrisius, to whom it had been foretold that he would be slain by his daughter's son.
This troubled him greatly. So he built a high tower of brass, and imprisoned his daughter Danaë in the very highest room. Having furnished her with provisions and amusements to last her all her life, he closed up all the entrances, so that nobody could get into the tower, and set guards all round it, so that nobody could even come near it. He did all this so that she should never marry and have a son who would grow up to kill him.
You may imagine what sort of a life Danae led, shut up in the brazen tower. She was made comfortable enough, and had plenty to eat and drink, and musical instruments, and pictures, and jewels, and all such things; but she never, from year's end to year's end, saw a face, except when she looked into the looking-glass, nor heard a voice but when she sang to herself—which she soon got tired of doing. She could not even look out of the window, because there were no windows to look from. She lived by lamplight, and she knew that this was to be her life for all the rest of her days.
So Acrisius felt safe and satisfied, and thought he had baffled Fate very cleverly indeed. And thus things went on for many years—what endless years they must have been to the imprisoned princess!—till one day she heard a little chinking noise, as if a gold coin had fallen upon the brazen floor of her room. She did not, however, pay any particular heed; indeed, she must by that time have got used to all sorts of queer fancies. But presently she heard it again. And, looking down in an idly way, sure enough she saw a couple of gold coins lying on the floor.
That seemed rather odd, for whence could they have come? Then a third coin joined the two others, and, raising her eyes to the ceiling, she saw coin after coin coming through a crack so small that she had not known till now that it was there. Faster and faster came the coins, till they became a shower, and the heap of gold on the floor stood higher than her head. Then the shower ceased, and the crack was still so small that she could not see whence the coins had fallen. As she stood wondering, the heap began to stir itself; the gold pieces melted into a single mass, which gradually seemed to take life and form. At last, where the gold had been, she saw the form of a man, but so stately and royal, and so much grander and nobler than any mere man could be, that she fell upon her knees before him.
"I am Jupiter," said he, raising her, "and I have chosen you to be my earthy bride."
So just that little crack in the ceiling, only just big enough for a thin gold coin to squeeze through, brought about what Acrisius had been at such trouble to prevent. And in time the news came to the king that a child had been heard crying in the brazen tower. He broke his way in, hurried up the staircase to the highest room, and there, to his rage and terror, he found Danae with a child, a boy, in her arms.
But he was determined not to let fate conquer him. He could not very well have his daughter and grandson put to death—at least openly. But he had them carried out to sea and then turned adrift in a small leaky boat without sail, oars, or rudder, so that they were certain to be drowned. This having been done, Acrisius felt happy and comfortable again.
Now there lived on the little island of Seriphus, more than two hundred miles away, an honest fisherman named Dictys. It is often rough weather about there, and bad for fishing; but he was a brave and skilful sailor, and the weather, in order to keep him ashore, had to be very rough indeed. You may think, therefore, how bad the weather was when, for the first time in his life, he was unable to cast his nets for many days and nights together,—so many that he began to wonder what in the world he should do to get food for his wife and children. He used to lie awake listening to the howling wind and roaring sea, and then, going down to the beach, sought for food among the rocks and pools, thinking himself lucky if he could find a damaged crab or a bunch of eatable sea-weed.
One morning while he was searching about with a heavy heart, he, passing a jutting rock, came suddenly upon a young and handsome woman, in clothes all torn and drenched by the waves, sitting with a baby in her lap, and forlornly rocking herself to and fro. Hard by were the broken timbers of a boat, which had doubtless been blown ashore by the wind. Dictys questioned her kindly, but she could not or would not answer; so, taking her by the hand, he led her to his cottage, where his wife, who was as good-hearted as he, made a big fire of wreck-wood, and gave the mother and child a share of what food they had left, though it could ill be spared. From their famished looks he judged that they must have been tossing about on the waves for many days. But though the woman thanked him gratefully, with tears in her eyes, she did not tell him anything of her story except what he could see for himself—that she had been lost at sea.
"Perhaps she has lost her memory," he said to his wife, when their guests were sleeping, worn out with all they had gone through. What is to be done? We do not even know who they are."
"And look at their clothes!" said his wife. "For all their being in rags, they might have been made for a queen and a queen's son. But whoever they are," she said with a sigh, "we can't let them perish of hunger and cold. I never saw such a beautiful child—not even among our own."
Dictys sighed still more deeply, for to be burdened with two more mouths to feed in those bad times was a serious thing, even though his heart also bled for the misery of the mother and the beauty of the boy. . . . "I have it, wife!" he exclaimed at last. "As soon as they are rested, and as I've nothing else to do, worse luck, I'll take them to the king. He'll do something for them, I'm sure. And if he doesn't, why, we must do what we can, that's all, and hope for better times."
So when the mother and child were quite rested and refreshed, Dictys set off with them for the king's palace, doing his best to cheer them by the way. Seriphus is a very little island, not more than a dozen miles round, so they had not to go far, and fortunately they found the king at home. The King of Seriphus at that time was Polydectes, who, having heard the fisherman's story, and being struck with the beauty and high-born air both of the woman and of the child, kept them in his own palace, treated them as guests whom he delighted to honor, and was much too polite to ask questions. The mother told nobody anything except that her child's name was Perseus, and that hers was Danae.
Perseus grew up into such splendid manhood that for a long time Polydectes was fond and proud of him, and treated him as if he were his own son. He was strong and handsome, brave, noble-minded, and marvelously accomplished both in mind and body. He was devoted to his mother; and he could never do enough to show his gratitude to Dictys the fisherman, who had been kind to her in her need. But his very virtues became his misfortune. Polydectes gradually became jealous of him, for he could not help seeing that the people of Seriphus loved and honored Perseus more than the king himself, and he was afraid that they might rebel and make Perseus their king. Besides that, he wanted to have Danae in his power, and without a protector, so that he might marry her against her will. Therefore he bethought him of a plot by which he could get rid of Perseus forever in a seemingly honorable way.
So one day he called the young man to him, and said:—
"Perseus, I know how brave you are, and how fond of all sorts of difficult adventures. Did you ever hear of the Gorgons? Well, the Gorgons are three terrible demon sisters who live in the middle of Africa. Their bodies are covered with scales like dragons, which no spear can pierce; their hands are brazen claws; they have snakes instead of hair, just like the Furies—I mean the Eumenides; and they have teeth as long as the tusks of a wild boar; and whoever looks upon them is turned to stone. All three are dreadful; but the one who is named Medusa is the most dreadful of all. Now I have been thinking, as you are so fond of adventures, you might go and cut off Medusa's head. It would be something to be proud of for the rest of your days."
Perseus was rather taken aback by such an errand. In the first place, he did not know where to find the Gorgons; in the second place, how was he to kill a creature who would turn him into stone by one glance of her eyes? But he was much too brave to refuse, or even to think of refusing. "I will just bid my mother good-bye, and then I will start at once," said he. He did not tell his mother what he had undertaken to do for fear of alarming her; but he said good-bye to her as cheerfully as if he were only going for a night's fishing with their friend the fisherman. Then, having asked Dictys to take care of his mother till he came back again, he lay down to get a little sleep before starting.
He had a curious dream. He thought that Pluto, Minerva, and Mercury came to his bedside, and that each made him a parting present. Pluto gave him a helmet, Minerva a shield, and Mercury a pair of sandals, with little wings fastened to them, and a curious weapon, of which the blade was shaped like a scythe, and made of a single diamond. But the dream was not so strange as what he found when he woke. There, on his bed, actually lay the helmet, the shield of polished steel, the winged sandals, and the scythe-shaped dagger.
Well, somebody must have put them there. Perhaps they were parting gifts from King Polydectes. So first he put on the helmet; then he placed the weapon in his belt; then he slung the shield over his shoulders; last of all, he bound the winged sandals on his feet, and when the wings spread themselves at his heels, and carried him high up into the air, he began to think that the visit of the gods must have been something more than a dream.
He went up so high that the earth looked like a large map spread out below him, on which the island of Seriphus seemed but a mere speck in the sea over which he was drifting southward. After many hours of this strange sort of travel, he began to descend, and came down upon his feet in the middle of a hot sandy plain, where neither hill nor tree nor water was to be seen. He could not tell where he was. But he did not lose courage; and he set out across the desert, knowing that if he kept straight on in one direction, he must reach somewhere or other in time.
But not till nearly nightfall did he see, in the far distance, a cluster of palm-trees—the sure sign of water, which his long journey over the hot and glaring sand, under the blazing sun, had made him need sorely. Reaching the palm-trees at last, he found, in the midst of the cluster, a wooden hut. Wondering that anybody should live in such a place, but hoping to find food and guidance, he knocked boldly on the door with the hilt of his sword, and was bidden, by a hoarse, cracked voice, to come in.
He entered, and found three very old women warming their hands at a few burning sticks, although it was so hot in the desert that Perseus could hardly bear the weight of his shield. As he came in, the three crones turned their faces towards him; and he saw that one of them had only one eye and no teeth, that another had only one tooth and no eye, and that the third had neither teeth nor eyes.
"I am a traveler," said Perseus, "and have lost my way. Will you kindly tell me where I am?"
"Come in and show yourself," said the crone who had the eye, sharply. "I must see who you are before I answer," she added, though her one eye was looking straight at him all the while.
"Here I am," said Perseus, stepping into the middle of the room. "I suppose you can see me now."
"It's very strange—very strange!" said the old woman. "Sisters, I hear a man's voice, but I see no man!"
"Nonsense, sister!" said the one who had the tooth. "You can't have put the eye in right. Let me try."
To the amazement of Perseus, the first old woman took out her eye and passed it to the second, who, after giving it a polish, put it into her own face and looked round; but she also saw nothing.
The two wrangled for a while as to whether there was anything to be seen; and then the eye was passed round to the third sister. But she also failed to see Perseus, through the eye rolled in her head, and glowed like a live coal.
And so they kept passing the eye round from one to another, and yet nothing could they see. At last Perseus, feeling terribly hot and tired, took off Pluto's helmet to cool himself, when suddenly—
"There he is! I see him now!" exclaimed the old woman who, at the moment, happened to be using the eye.
The Perseus found out that his helmet made him invisible when he put it on; and he had already found out the use of his sandals. Perhaps the other gifts would have their uses too.
He let the old women have a good look at him each in turn, and then said—
"I am very hungry and thirsty and tired, and don't know where I am. Will you give me a little food, and tell me who such kind ladies are, and what this place is, and put me on the right road to where I want to go?"
It was the one who happened to have the eye in her head that always spoke.
"We will give you some food," said she, "for you seem a very well-behaved young man. This place is the great desert of Libya" (which is what we now call the desert of Sahara, in Africa) "and we are three sisters, called the Graiæ. And where do you want to go?"
"I want to visit the Gorgons, and particularly Medusa," said he. "Do you happen to know where they are?"
"Of course we know, for they are our own kinswomen! But never, no, never, will we tell you where they live, or the way to get there. Never will we let so handsome a youth be turned into stone!"
"Never!" croaked the old woman with the tooth.
"Never!" mumbled the third.
Perseus did all he could to persuade them, but they were so stubborn that he was only wasting words. Meanwhile they laid out supper, which they ate in a very strange way, each taking her turn with the one tooth which they had among them, and passing it round from one to the other, just as they did with their only eye. This made the meal rather long and slow, for they ate enormously. After supper they put the eye and the tooth into a little box while they took a nap, when Perseus, watching his opportunity, snatched up the box, put on his helmet, and cried out—
"Now tell me the way to Medusa, or else you shall never see or eat again!"
The poor old Graiæ went down on their knees, and implored him to give them back their only tooth and their only eye. But he said—
"It is my turn to be stubborn. Tell me where to find Medusa, and you shall have them back; but not a minute before."
"I suppose we must, then," said the eldest, with a sigh. "Well, it won't be our fault now, whatever happens. And after all, it's better that you should be turned into stone than that we should be blind and starved."
"Much better," her sisters groaned.
"Very well, then," said the eldest Graia, "you must go straight on, night and day, until you come into the country of King Atlas, which is called Mauritania. Near the king's palace is a garden where the trees bear golden apples, guarded by a dragon. If the dragon does not devour you, you must pass the garden gate, and go on, a long, long way, till you come to a great lake where, if you do not find the Gorgons, you will be a lucky man."
Perseus gave the old women back their tooth and eye, which they received with joy, and thanking them for their information, left the hut and traveled on. After many days and nights, during which he found it hard to find food, he came into a fertile country wherein stood a stately palace, so high that it seemed to touch the clouds. Hard by was a vast garden enclosed by a high wall, and at the gate, sure enough, sat a monstrous dragon with glaring eyes. But Perseus, wearing his invisible helmet, passed by safely, because unseen.
In time he came to the lake, where he took off his helmet to quench his thirst. While he was drinking, he was startled by the approach of what sounded like a mighty rush of wind, and he had but just time to put on his helmet again before he saw, reflected in the lake, the flying form of a terrible Medusa—the Gorgon whom he had vowed to slay, and who, not seeing him, sat down beside him with folded wings.
Well was it for Perseus that he remembered what would happen to him if he looked at Medusa. And yet how in the would was he to fight her without looking at her? That was a puzzle indeed. Suddenly he bethought himself of Minerva's shield, which was polished like a mirror. He turned it towards Medusa, and saw, not herself indeed, but her reflection in the polished shield, which did just as well.
She was indeed a monster—more terrible even than he had expected. She was of gigantic size, hideous and cruel in face, with the scales and wings of a dragon, horrible claws, and hundreds of writhing and hissing snakes on her head instead of hair. No wonder that anybody who looked on her was turned at once into stone. Perseus, wearing his helmet, and guiding himself by his mirror, from which he never moved his eyes, drew his diamond blade, sprang upon the monster, gave one stroke just between her chin and where her scales began, and, in a single moment, her hideous head was rolling on the sand. The snakes gave one last hiss, and the deed was done.
Still keeping his eyes turned away, Perseus, by using his mirror, found the head, which he slung out of his sight behind him. Scarcely had he done this when he heard again the sound of wings, like a great wind—the sisters of Medusa, the other two Gorgons, were flying over the lake like hurricanes to take vengeance upon her slayer. They could not see Perseus himself, because of his helmet; but they saw their sister's head at his back, and could thus swoop down upon him. But Perseus, remembering his winged sandals, sprang up into the air, and off he flew, with the raging Gorgons after him.
It was a terrible race! Perseus would not throw away the head, though it left such a track behind him. For from one of the splashes of blood which fell upon the earth sprang the giant Chrysaor, armed with a golden sword; from another leaped into life the winged horse Pegasus, who immediately darted off through the air and never stopped until he alighted among the Muses upon Mount Helicon; the smaller drops of blood as they fell became countless serpents, and all manner of loathsome crawling things. On and on Perseus flew, not knowing whither, like one hunted in some horrible dream, till his strength failed him, and he came down to earth, swiftly and half fainting.
When he opened his eyes and raised himself from the ground, he found himself in the most beautiful garden he had ever seen, full of trees laden with fruits of gold. But before him stood a huge giant, so tall that his head was above the clouds. The giant stooped till Perseus could see his face, and said in a voice of thunder:—
"I am Atlas, King of Mauritania! How has a miserable pigmy like you passed the dragon who guards the gate of the garden of golden apples, and entered in?"
"Then from you, as king of this land," said Perseus, "I claim shelter and protection in my father's name! For the avengers of blood are following after me to kill me."
"You are safe with me," said Atlas. "But who is your father, that you claim shelter and protection in his name?"
"My name is Perseus," said Perseus, proudly, "and I am the son of Jupiter, the king of gods and men!"
"Of Jupiter?" thundered Atlas. "Then—prepare to die!"
"You would kill a son of Jupiter?" asked Perseus, amazed.
"Ay, and any son of Jupiter who comes in my way! For hath it not been foretold that by a son of Jupiter shall I be robbed of my golden apples? For what else are you here? Son of Jupiter, once more, prepare to die!" And so saying, he lifted his enormous arm, one blow of which would have swept away ten thousand men as if they were a swarm of flies.
Perseus gave himself up for lost, for he had no more chance against Atlas than a beetle would have against an elephant. However, like a brave knight, he resolved to die fighting: he drew his sword and grasped his shield—at least what he meant to be his shield; for it chanced to be Medusa's head which he brought from behind his shoulder and held up before the giant. Down came the huge right arm of Atlas to crush him. But even in death the head did its work. No sooner were Medusa's staring eyes turned upon the giant than all in a moment his limbs stiffened, and he became a vast mountain of stone, with its head above the clouds. And there stands Mount Atlas to this day.
Thankful for his wonderful escape, Perseus, without taking a single golden apple, continued his journey, no longer pursued by the Gorgons, who had doubtless lost trace of him. Leaving Mauritania, he recrossed the great Libyan desert, and traveled on and on until he reached the coast of Ethiopia, and entered a great city on the seashore.
But though the place was evidently great and rich, the whole air seemed full of sadness and gloom. The people went about silent and sighing, and altogether so woe-begone that they had no attention to spare for a stranger. When he reached the king's palace the signs of mourning were deeper still: it was like entering a tomb, all was so plunged in speechless sorrow.
"What is the matter?" asked Perseus at last, seizing a passing servant by the arm, and compelling him to listen. "Is it the death of the king?"
"Ah, if it were only that!" said the man. "But no; King Cepheus is alive and well. Alas, and woe is me!" And so once more he fell to wailing, and passed on.
Thus over and over again Perseus vainly sought an answer, getting nothing but tears and groans. And so, none heeding him, he went on till he reached a chamber where sat the king himself in the midst of his court; and here was the deepest mourning of all.
"I perceive you are a stranger," said King Cepheus. "Pardon us if we have seemed inhospitable and unlike the Æthiopians, the friends of the gods; it is not our way. But," he continued, the tears flowing as he spoke, "if you knew, you would understand."
"Let me know," said Perseus gently, for he was filled with pity for the king's tears.
"My daughter, the Princess Andromeda," answered the king, "is condemned to a horrible death; I know not whether she is yet alive."
"How," asked Perseus, "can a king's daughter be condemned to death against her father's will?"
"No wonder it sounds strange," answered Cepheus; "but listen: Andromeda is my only child. For some reason—I know not what—the gods have permitted the land to be ravaged by a monster which came out of the sea, whose very breath is a blight and a pestilence, and which spares neither man, woman, nor child. Not one of us is left without cause to mourn. Fearing the destruction of all my people, I asked of the great oracle of Ammon in what way the work of the monster could be stayed. Alas! the oracle declared that nothing would avail but delivering up Andromeda herself to its fury to be devoured. What could I do? Could I doom all my people to lose all their children for the sake of my own? There was but one thing for a king, who is the father of all his people, to do: and even now—" But he could say no more.
"Oracle or no oracle," said Perseus, "it shall not be while I am alive! Where is the princess?"
"She was chained at sunrise to a rock on the seashore, there to wait for the monster. But where she is now—"
Perseus did not wait for another word, but, leaving the palace, hurried alone the shore, already half covered by the rising tide, helping himself over the difficult places by the wings at his heels. At last he came to what made his heart beat and burn with pity and rage. Chained by her wrists to a pillar of rock was the most beautiful of all princesses, stripped naked, but for the long hair that fell over her shoulders, and for the rising waves, which were already nearly waist-high. But what struck Perseus most was her look of quiet courage and noble pride—the look of one who was devoting herself to a cruel death for the country's sake, and in order that others might be saved.
The whole heart of Perseus went out to her: he vowed, if he could not save her, to share her doom. But before he could reach her side, a huge black wave parted, and forth came the monster—a creature like nothing else of land or sea, with a bloated, shapeless body, studded with hungry, cruel eyes, and hundreds of long, slimy limbs, twisting and crawling, each with a yawning mouth, from which streamed livid fire and horrible fumes. Andromeda turned pale as the loathsome creature came on with a slowness more dreadful than speed. Perseus could not wait. Springing from the rock with his wings, he threw himself, like lightning, full upon the monster, and then began such a struggle as had never been seen before. The creature twined its limbs around Perseus, and tried to crush him. As soon as Perseus tore himself from one, he was clutched by another, while the pulpy mass seemed proof against thrusts or blows.
Perseus felt his life passing from him; he put all the strength left him into one last blow. It fell only on the monster's right shoulder. But that was the one place where it could be pierced. The coils relaxed, and Perseus, to his own amaze, saw the monster floating, a shapeless corpse, upon the waves.
Having released Andromeda, who had watched the struggle in an agony of dread for what had seemed the certain fate of her champion, he carried her back through the air to her father's palace; and I need not tell how the mourning turned into wonder and joy!
"What can I do to show my gratitude?" asked Cepheus of Perseus. "Ask of me whatever you will, and it shall be yours, on the word of a king!"
"Give me Andromeda to be my wife," said Perseus. "That is all I want in the world."
"Gladly," said Cepheus; but suddenly he became grave. "I have promised on the word of a king, which cannot be broken. But I must warn you that you are not the first in the field. Andromeda has long been claimed in marriage by the powerful Prince Phineus: and he is not the man to lose what he wants without giving trouble."
"He never gave any trouble to the monster," said Perseus, thinking that Cepheus, though kind and honorable, was rather a weak and timid sort of king. So the marriage of Perseus and Andromeda was settled, to the great joy of both; and all the nobles were invited to a great festival in honor of the wedding, and of the delivery of the land. The Æthiopians were famous for their feasts,—so much so that the gods themselves would often leave the nectar and ambrosia of Olympus to be guests at their tables.
Everything went on very happily, when in the very midst of the banquet was heard the clash of arms; and those who were nearest the door cried out that Prince Phineus had come with an army to carry off the bride.
"Do not be alarmed," said Perseus. "Only let everybody shut his eyes until I bid him open them again."
It seemed an odd order; but Cepheus and all his Court had such faith in Perseus that they instantly obeyed him, and all shut their eyes. Perseus, especially bidding Andromeda close hers, drew forth Medusa's head, turning the face towards the door. And when, at his bidding, Cepheus and the rest opened their eyes and looked, they saw Phineus and his army all turned into statues of stone.
After resting from his adventures at the Court of King Cepheus, Perseus set sail with Andromeda, in one of the king's ships, for Seriphus, where they arrived after a safe and pleasant voyage. He was impatient to see his mother again, and to show King Polydectes how well he had done his errand. On reaching Seriphus, he left Andromeda in the ship, while he went alone on shore to see how things had gone while he had been away.
His way to the palace led him past the temple of Minerva, at the gate of which he found great confusion. Forcing his way through the crowd, he entered, and was astonished to see his mother, Danae, crouching in terror by the altar, with Dictys the fisherman standing before her, and defending her from King Polydectes and his guards, who were crowding the temple. Clearing his way to the altar-steps, Perseus heard hurriedly from Dictys what was happening: how the king, taking advantage of his absence, had been persecuting Danae to marry him against her will, and had at last driven her into the temple to make her his wife by force. Dictys alone had come to her rescue; but what could one man do against the king and all his guards?
"And now you have come," sighed Dictys, "you will be slain too. See, they are coming on!"
"You sent me to slay Medusa, King Polydectes," cried Perseus. "See how well I have obeyed you!"
So saying, he held up the fatal head; and the king and his guards forthwith became stone. Thus was Polydectes destroyed by his own treachery.
The people desired to make Perseus king; but he had a longing to pay a visit to the land of Argos, where he had been born, but which he had never seen. So he made Dictys the fisherman King of Seriphus, thinking that kindness, courage, and faithfulness were the chief things to be looked for in the choice of a ruler, and set sail for Argos with his wife and mother.
Of course nobody there knew any of them; for Perseus had left the country when a child in arms, and Danae had spent her girlhood shut up in a brazen tower. It so happened that, when they reached land, the people of Larissa were celebrating some solemn games in honor of their king, who had just died—wrestling, racing, and so forth; and Perseus, hearing the news, went round by way of Larissa to take part in them.
Having shown himself best in every spot, he joined in a game of quoits, in which, as always, he found himself without a rival. Having outdone all others, he thought he would outdo even himself; and, taking up the heaviest quoit, he cast it so far that it passed over the heads of the circle of spectators, so that none could see where it fell—
Until they were startled by a cry which made the people crowd to where an old man had fallen from his seat, and now lay dead upon the ground. The quoit had struck him on the head, and—
"Fly!" cried those who stood about Perseus. "It is Acrisius, King of Argos, whom your unlucky quoit has killed!"
And thus came to pass what had been foretold at the beginning—King Acrisius had been slain by his daughter's son.
As for Perseus, whose adventures were now at an end, he refused the kingdom of Argos, which had come to him in such an unfortunate manner, and, traveling further into Greece, built a city and made a kingdom for himself, which he called Mycenæ. Here, with Andromeda and Danae, he lived in peace and happiness, ruling so well and wisely that when he died he was made a demigod, and admitted into Olympus. There are two constellations which are still called Perseus and Andromeda. The Gorgon's head he consecrated to Minerva, who fixed it in the middle of her shield, where it still retained its power of turning the enemies of the goddess of Wisdom into blocks of stone.
I expect that one part of this story has reminded you of how St. George of England rescued the Princess Sabra from the dragon. Well, there is this great likeness among all good knights, that they have the help of heaven, because they would be equally good and brave whether they had such help or no.