You think your family is too hard on you? Try being Perseus, the son of Jupiter and Danae. His grandfather, Acrisius, was told by an oracle that his daughter's child would be the cause of his death, so he ordered the mother and child to be shut up in a chest and set adrift in the ocean. (Ed. Note: I’ve heard oracles don’t lie, but I’ve had very little personal experience.) The chest came to shore at Seriphus, where it was found by a fisherman who brought the mother and infant to Polydectes, the evil king of the country, who married Danae and treated her very badly.
When Perseus had grown up Polydectes sent him to kill Medusa, a Gorgon, and to bring back her head as proof. Let me tell you about her. She was a real two-bagger. By that, I don’t mean that you could easily get to second base with her. What I mean is that if you were making love to her, you’d put two bags over her head in case the first one came off! At one time, she was gorgeous with hair that wouldn’t quit, but Minerva got jealous. She took away Medusa’s charms and turned her hair into live, wriggling snakes. She was so scary that neither man nor beast could look at her without turning into stone. The cavern where she lived looked like a sculpture gallery.
Perseus borrowed Minerva’s shield and Mercury’s winged sandals (it pays to know the right
people gods) and, since there were no posted
speed limits, got to Medusa’s cavern in just under a minute. He knew better than to look directly at her, so he let
the reflection in Minerva’s shield guide him.
He took out his shield and lopped off her head, which Minerva was planning
to place in the center of her shield, as sort of a logo.
After he killed Medusa, he took flight (he still had Mercury’s sandals) over land and sea, carrying the head in a sack. He got to the realm of King Atlas, who was the biggest man on earth. He was seriously fat! Perseus said, "I come as a guest. If you honor illustrious descent, I claim Jupiter as my father. If mighty deeds, I claim the conquest of the Gorgon. I seek rest and food." King Atlas was very concerned about his apple trees, which grew golden apples, and said, “No way, Jose” and told him to leave. Perseus, who was always gracious, said, “Okey, dokey, but let me give you a present before I go.” He closed his eyes and held up Medusa’s head. (The turning into stone thing worked even if she was dead.) Atlas, being such a big guy, was turned into a mountain. Don’t believe me? Where do you think the Atlas Mountains came from?
After a big lunch and a long nap, Perseus returned to Seriphus to see King Polydectes and his mother, Danae. He went to the castle, where the tyrant and his guests were feasting. "Have you the head of Medusa?" asked Polydectes. He whispered to his mother to close her eyes and said, "Here it is," and held it up to show to the king and to his guests. Back into the sack went the head. He told Danae to open her eyes and said, “Let’s split this place, Mom.” And so they did.