Long ago and far away, in the port city of Joppa, in the beautiful kingdom of Aithiopia, in the fair land of Libya, there lived a king by the name of Kepheus and with him Kasseipeia, his wife. In time, unto the king and queen, there came a daughter, whose beauty and grace made all the land rejoice; and they called her Andromeda, meaning “ruler of men”, for such was her birthright.
Now, when Andromeda came of age, she was betrothed to one Phineus, who was the brother of Kepheus, her father, for the customs of that day and age allowed such things.
Now, the queen also was very beautiful, and unfortunately for everyone involved, she knew it. So did it come to pass that Kasseipeia, swollen with her own vanity and pride, declared to the world that her own beauty was of such magnitude as to outshine even that of the Nereides, the goddess-nymphs of the sea. Quite understandably, the Nereides were enraged by this arrogant declaration from a mortal, and they went in their fury to Poseidon, god of the sea, and entreated him not to let this insult to their pride go unscathed. Poseidon, possessing no mean amount of godly pride himself, was roused to anger by their story, and he sent upon the land of Aithiopia as a punishment a great flood, and after it a sea monster, or Ketos.
Now, Kepheus, in his desperation, called upon the oracle of Ammon for help in his troubles. The oracle consulted her mystic arts and declared that the only way to stop the Ketos was to sacrifice Andromeda, the innocent princess, to the monster, and the king was reluctantly forced, by his people, to do so.
Now it so happened that the hero, Perseus, who had just slain the Gorgon Medusa, was traveling by, and, seeing the fair damsel stretched helpless on the cliffs, he was struck with her beauty and demanded to know if he could assist her. When Andromeda had told him her story, Perseus, like the hero he was, declared that he would himself slay the dread Ketos and free the princess, with whom he had already fallen deeply in love. Accordingly, when the foul beast rose from the sea to claim his prize, Perseus fought and slew the monster, and then freed Andromeda and carried her to her people.
Perseus demanded of Kepheus the hand of his daughter in marriage, but Phineus, who was the betrothed of the princess, refused to allow it and plotted against the hero. Learning of the plot, Perseus displayed the head of Medusa before Phineus and his band, and they were turned to stone. Andromeda then agreed to go with Perseus to his own home and be wed, and they went and lived happily ever after.
Now, the goddess Athena, struck by the bravery of Perseus, placed Andromeda, along with Perseus, in the sky, where she now dwells as the constellation Andromeda, ever immortalized in her beauty.
This article was written by Annika, age 14, an Experience Astronomy student from Paynesville.