Triton. Iphianassa. Doris. Nereids
Tri. Well, ladies: so the monster you sent against the daughter of Cepheus has got killed himself, and never done Andromeda any harm at all!
Nereid. Who did it? I suppose Cepheus was just using his daughter as a bait, and had a whole army waiting in ambush to kill him?
Tri. No, no.--Iphianassa, you remember Perseus, Danae's boy?--they were both thrown into the sea by the boy's grandfather, in that chest, you know, and you took pity on them.
Iph. I know; why, I suppose he is a fine handsome young fellow by now?
Tri. It was he who killed your monster.
Iph. But why? This was not the way to show his gratitude.
Tri. I'll tell you all about it. The king had sent him on this expedition against the Gorgons, and when he got to Libya--
Iph. How did he get there? all by himself? he must have had some one to help him?--it is a dangerous journey otherwise.
Tri. He flew,--Athene gave him wings.--Well, so when he got to where the Gorgons were living, he caught them napping, I suppose, cut off Medusa's head, and flew away.
Iph. How could he see them? The Gorgons are a forbidden sight. Whoever looks at them will never look at any one else again.
Tri. Athene held up her shield--I heard him telling Andromeda
and Cepheus about it afterwards--Athene showed him the reflection of the Gorgon in her shield, which is as bright as any mirror; so he took hold of her hair in his left hand, grasped his scimetar with the right, still looking at the reflection, cut off her head, and was off before her sisters woke up. Lowering his flight as he reached the Ethiopian coast yonder, he caught sight of Andromeda, fettered to a jutting rock, her hair hanging loose about her shoulders; ye Gods, what loveliness was there exposed to view! And first pity of her hard fate prompted him to ask the cause of her doom: but Fate had decreed the maiden's deliverance, and presently Love stole upon him, and he resolved to save her. The hideous monster now drew near, and would have swallowed her: but the youth, hovering above, smote him with the drawn scimetar in his right hand, and with his left uncovered the petrifying Gorgon's head: in one moment the monster was lifeless; all of him that had met that gaze was turned to stone. Then Perseus released the maiden from her fetters, and supported her, as with timid steps she descended from the slippery rock.--And now he is to marry her in Cepheus's palace, and take her home to Argos; so that where she looked for death, she has found an uncommonly good match.
Iph. I am not sorry to hear it. It is no fault of hers, if her mother has the vanity to set up for our rival.
Dor. Still, she is Andromeda's mother; and we should have had our revenge on her through the daughter.
Iph. My dear, let bygones be bygones. What matter if a barbarian queen's tongue runs away with her? She is sufficiently punished by the fright. So let us take this marriage in good part.