46. The battle at Perseus’ wedding feast

Once upon a time, Perseus, the brave son of Jupiter, married the daughter of King Cepheus and Cassiope, the beautiful Andromeda, whom he had rescued from a terrible sea monster. King Cepheus and Cassiope arranged a wedding feast, and while everyone was enjoying the royal treat, suddenly, a tempestuous billowing outcry subdued the happy clamor of the wedding feast.

A throng of armed men arrived, flashing their glinting swords and sharp spears. The leader was Phineus, the brother of Cepheus, and he had come to kill Perseus, as Andromeda was earlier betrothed to him. Phineus raised his brass-tipped spear to strike Perseus, but Cepheus told Phineus to stay his insolent hand. Cepheus told the entire court that Phineus like a coward had stood supinely by, while Andromeda was chained to the rock, and he did nothing to save her from the sea monster, in spite of being engaged to her. It was only Perseus who had saved her and thus, Perseus by his valor had earned the right to marry Andromeda. However, Phineus was blind to reason.

With all his rage, Phineus hurled his spear at Perseus. The spear missed and stuck quivering in a couch. Perseus, being provoked past endurance, leapt from his cushioned seat, out-wrenched that same spear and fiercely threw it back at Phineus. The spear would have pierced the craven breast of Phineus, had not he crouched behind an altar. But the whizzing spear flew not in vain, as it pierced the forehead of Rhoetus, a supporter of Phineus. A raging battle erupted between two groups, one favoring Perseus and the other favoring Phineus.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties, and then Perseus took out Medusa’s head from his bag. Phineus averted his gaze, but Perseus turned Medusa’s head where Phineus stared. Phineus stiffened and he became a stone statue. His statue was also of a coward face and timid eyes, as guilty as they were in life.

Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani

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