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From Myths and Legends of all nations
Start of Story
by Logan Marshall.
Age suitability 8 Plus
It is greatly to be feared that the Three Gray Women were very much in
the habit of disturbing their mutual harmony by bickerings of this
sort, which was the more pity, as they could not conveniently do
without one another and were evidently intended to be inseparable
companions. As a general rule, I would advise all people, whether
sisters or brothers, old or young, who chance to have but one eye
amongst them, to cultivate forbearance and not all insist upon peeping
through it at once.
Quicksilver and Perseus, in the meantime, were making the best of
their way in quest of the Nymphs. The old dames had given them such
particular directions that they were not long in finding them out.
They proved to be very different persons from Nightmare, Shakejoint
and Scarecrow; for, instead of being old, they were young and
beautiful; and instead of one eye amongst the sisterhood, each Nymph
had two exceedingly bright eyes of her own, with which she looked very
kindly at Perseus. They seemed to be acquainted with Quicksilver, and
when he told them the adventure which Perseus had undertaken, they
made no difficulty about giving him the valuable articles that were in
their custody. In the first place, they brought out what appeared to
be a small purse, made of deer skin and curiously embroidered, and
bade him be sure and keep it safe. This was the magic wallet. The
Nymphs next produced a pair of shoes or slippers or sandals, with a
nice little pair of wings at the heel of each.
"Put them on, Perseus," said Quicksilver. "You will find yourself as
light-heeled as you can desire for the remainder of our journey."
So Perseus proceeded to put one of the slippers on, while he laid the
other on the ground by his side. Unexpectedly, however, this other
slipper spread its wings, fluttered up off the ground and would
probably have flown away if Quicksilver had not made a leap and
luckily caught it in the air.
"Be more careful," said he as he gave it back to Perseus. "It would
frighten the birds up aloft if they should see a flying slipper
When Perseus had got on both of these wonderful slippers, he was
altogether too buoyant to tread on earth. Making a step or two, lo and
behold! upward he popped into the air high above the heads of
Quicksilver and the Nymphs, and found it very difficult to clamber
down again. Winged slippers and all such high-flying contrivances are
seldom quite easy to manage until one grows a little accustomed to
them. Quicksilver laughed at his companion's involuntary activity and
told him that he must not be in so desperate a hurry, but must wait
for the invisible helmet.
The good-natured Nymphs had the helmet, with its dark tuft of waving
plumes, all in readiness to put upon his head. And now there happened
about as wonderful an incident as anything that I have yet told you.
The instant before the helmet was put on, there stood Perseus, a
beautiful young man, with golden ringlets and rosy cheeks, the crooked
sword by his side and the brightly polished shield upon his arm--a
figure that seemed all made up of courage, sprightliness and glorious
light. But when the helmet had descended over his white brow, there
was no longer any Perseus to be seen! Nothing but empty air! Even the
helmet that covered him with its invisibility had vanished!
"Where are you, Perseus?" asked Quicksilver.
"Why, here, to be sure!" answered Perseus very quietly, although his
voice seemed to come out of the transparent atmosphere. "Just where I
was a moment ago. Don't you see me?"
"No, indeed!" answered his friend. "You are hidden under the helmet.
But if I cannot see you, neither can the Gorgons. Follow me,
therefore, and we will try your dexterity in using the winged
With these words, Quicksilver's cap spread its wings, as if his head
were about to fly away from his shoulders; but his whole figure rose
lightly into the air and Perseus followed. By the time they had
ascended a few hundred feet the young man began to feel what a
delightful thing it was to leave the dull earth so far beneath him and
to be able to flit about like a bird.
It was now deep night. Perseus looked upward and saw the round,
bright, silvery moon and thought that he should desire nothing better
than to soar up thither and spend his life there. Then he looked
downward again and saw the earth, with its seas and lakes, and the
silver course of its rivers, and its snowy mountain peaks, and the
breath of its fields, and the dark cluster of its woods, and its
cities of white marble; and with the moonshine sleeping over the whole
scene, it was as beautiful as the moon or any star could be. And among
other objects he saw the island of Seriphus, where his dear mother
was. Sometimes he and Quicksilver approached a cloud that at a
distance looked as if it were made of fleecy silver, although when
they plunged into it they found themselves chilled and moistened with
gray mist. So swift was their flight, however, that in an instant they
emerged from the cloud into the moonlight again. Once a high-soaring
eagle flew right against the invisible Perseus. The bravest sights
were the meteors that gleamed suddenly out as if a bonfire had been
kindled in the sky and made the moonshine pale for as much as a
hundred miles around them.
As the two companions flew onward, Perseus fancied that he could hear
the rustle of a garment close by his side; and it was on the side
opposite to the one where he beheld Quicksilver, yet only Quicksilver
"Whose garment is this," inquired Perseus, "that keeps rustling close
beside me in the breeze?"
"Oh, it is my sister's!" answered Quicksilver. "She is coming along
with us, as I told you she would. We could do nothing without the help
of my sister. You have no idea how wise she is. She has such eyes,
too! Why, she can see you at this moment just as distinctly as if you
were not invisible, and I'll venture to say she will be the first to
discover the Gorgons."
By this time, in their swift voyage through the air, they had come
within sight of the great ocean and were soon flying over it. Far
beneath them the waves tossed themselves tumultuously in mid-sea, or
rolled a white surf line upon the long beaches, or foamed against the
rocky cliffs, with a roar that was thunderous in the lower world,
although it became a gentle murmur, like the voice of a baby half
asleep, before it reached the ears of Perseus. Just then a voice spoke
in the air close by him. It seemed to be a woman's voice and was
melodious, though not exactly what might be called sweet, but grave
"Perseus," said the voice, "there are the Gorgons."
"Where?" exclaimed Perseus. "I cannot see them."
"On the shore of that island beneath you," replied the voice. "A
pebble dropped from your hand would strike in the midst of them."
"I told you she would be the first to discover them," said Quicksilver
to Perseus. "And there they are!"