Danae’s Golden Shower

Danae was the beautiful daughter and only child of King Acrisius of Argos.

One day, King Acrisius set off for Delphi, seeking a prophecy from the Oracle.  Danae loved her father and missed him terribly.

Upon his return, Danae ran to him with the delight and adoration only a child can muster. 

But her warm welcome was met with an icy stare. 

The king had heard his future. The Oracle had foretold that Acrisius's grandson, the child of his daughter, would rise to assume Acrisius’s throne. Good news!

But he would do so by killing the king. Bad news.

To escape his fate, Acrisius locked his poor daughter away in an impenetrable bronze chamber, richly adorned (he wasn't a total monster, and wanted his daughter to be comfortable), with only an unreachable skylight for air and light.

Danae’s prison may have been impregnable to mortals, but to the gods it was but a toy.

From the heights of Mount Olympus, Zeus, the king of the gods, saw the beautiful Danae's predicament. Perhaps it was Danae’s beauty that caught his eye. It might have been her poor treatment by her father that inspired him to “gift” her with his divinity. In any case, he found the lovely imprisoned princess irresistible. 

One cool afternoon, while she was reclining in her bed, as she had the day before and would again the day after, and the day after that, and the following day. You get the idea. Danae was bored as fuck!

Danae noticed a storm cloud passing overhead. That wasn’t unusual. What was strange, though, was the glistening golden rain that fell from it. Danae stood in amazement. She let fall over her hair and body. It was warm to the touch and tingled against her skin. Her excitement grew as the sprinkle became a drizzle, then a shower, and finally a torrential downpour that soaked her body from head to toe, as she reveled in it. 

Then suddenly it was over. Her chamber that had been soaked only a moment ago was completely dry. Her skin also, though gleaming with sweat, showed no signs of dancing in the rain. She breathing heavily.

What had happened? Had she imagined it? Had her wine been tainted? Had isolation and boredom finally driven her out of her mind? 

No matter how she tried, she could not make sense of the experience. For about a month. 

When Danae’s belly began to swell, the nurse who had been entrusted with her care reported the new developments to king.

Acrisius flew into a rage.

The wheels of Fate were in motion and barreling toward him.

What servant boy had been allowed into his harlot daughter’s bedroom?! 

He would murder the girl and be done with it. He had always wanted a boy anyway. But no, that would be an unforgivable crime against the gods. And the Furies, punishers of the guilty, would torment him for the rest of his days.

So he would turn over Danae’s fate, and his own, to… well, The Fates.

Danae gave birth to a son named Perseus. But no sooner had he been born than King Acrisius locked mother and son in a trunk, which his slaves cast out to sea. If the gods willed Danae and Perseus to live, then they would live. And if not, well, Acrisius had not killed them, merely deprived them of food and oxygen, and left them to the elements. His hands were clean.

If that were the end of the story, it would be super weird right. 

Zeus intervened, and his brother, the sea god Poseidon, calmed the waves. The trunk washed up on the shores of the island of Seriphos, where it was discovered by the kindly fisherman Dictys, who happened to be the brother of Seriphos’s king, Polydectes. 

Dictys wad kind to Danae and, having no children, he raised Perseus as his own son and taught him to be a great fisherman.

King Polydectes became infatuated with Danae, but she just wasn’t that into him. Perseus was super protective of his mother and made it his mission to act as the king’s eternal cock block.

But the king was not easily dissuaded. He hatched a plot to dispense with Perseus. He pretended he was going to marry another woman, Hippodamia, and demanded as a wedding gift from Perseus — the head of the gorgon Medusa. (No biggie.)

So the boy set out on his heroic quest.

Without Perseus to protect her, Polydectes demonstrated that much like his name sounds, he  was a worthless bag of many dicks. He became aggressive and abusive toward Danae. To escape his reach, she fled to the temple of Athena, where she awaited her son’s return.

When Perseus finally returned with the gorgon’s head, he used it to turn Polydectes to stone. Dictys then inherited the throne. And Danae was finally under the protection of a kindly king who wanted nothing from her and only happiness for her.


Tags

greek mythology, roman mythology


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