Perseus and the Birth of Pegasus

So, you want to know how the constellation Pegasus came to be? Well, for you to know that, I’ll have to tell you one of my stories.

The birth of pegasus

When I, Perseus, was a young lad living in the realm of King Polydectes, the King sent word to me and my Mother Danae that I was to leave his kingdom and not return until I brought him the head of the Gorgon Medusa, whose gaze turned all to stone.

When I heard the news, I prayed to my father Zeus for help. He answered my prayers by coming down to earth and bringing his fellow god Hermes and goddess Athena with him. When I saw them my heart leapt, for each of them had brought me a gift to help me on my journey. Lord Hermes lent me his flying sandals. Lady Athena gave me a highly polished shield. And Zeus, my Father, gave me a sword of my very own.

I remember my father’s words very clearly. “Use our gifts well, my son.”

Feeling more confident than before, I put on Hermes’ winged shoes and set off on my journey.

It wasn’t long before I saw the island on which the hideous form of Medusa was sleeping. I laughed to myself. It was so simple! All I had to do was walk up and cut off her head as she slept. My feet hit land, and I crept slowly up to the sleeping Medusa.

I was only a few feet away when I raised my sword—then everything went wrong.

You see, where her hair should have been, there were hundreds of live, writhing snakes. But while Medusa slept, the snakes did not! As I raised my sword, one of those foul beasts nudged her shoulder. Knowing what would happen a second before it did, I jumped behind a boulder.

Then, I heard the voice of Medusa, a sound like the hiss of a million snakes. “What did you wake me for, my little sssnakie?”

Desperately, I unsheathed my sword, and pulled out Athena’s shield. The shield! By looking in the reflection of the shield, I could avoid being petrified by her, and still fight!

I leapt from my hiding place. Medusa lunged. I side-stepped her, then with a great stroke of my sword, I brought her head tumbling down to earth. From her neck sprang a huge form: Chrysaor, a giant wielding a golden sword.

I turned back to Medusa’s body just in time to see a white, winged stallion emerge from her neck just as Chrysaor had done. The stallion walked up to me and nuzzled my hand before turning away. And, then I watched in awe as the first Pegasus spread his wings and took off into the sky. And to this day, Pegasus, that beautiful winged stallion whose birth I was so lucky to witness, remains in the starry sky.

This article is by Elizabeth, age 12, an Experience Astronomy student from Parker, Texas.

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