She clasped her hands together and shrieked aloud for help. And when she cried, help met her, for now there came over the rocks a tall and stately man, and looked down wondering upon poor Danae, tossing about in the chest among the waves.
He wore a rough cloak, and on his head a broad hat to shade his face, and in his hand he carried a trident, which is a three-pronged fork for spearing fish, and over his shoulder was a casting net.
[Illustration: SO DANAE WAS COMFORTED AND WENT HOME WITH DICTYS.]
But Danae could see that he was no common man by his height and his walk, and his flowing golden hair and beard, and by the two servants who came behind him carrying baskets for his fish.
She had hardly time to look at him, before he had laid aside his trident and leapt down the rocks, and thrown his casting net so surely over Danae and the chest, that he drew it and her and the babe safe upon a ledge of rock.
Then the fisherman took Danae by the hand and lifted her out of the chest and said, “O beautiful damsel, what strange chance has brought you to this island in so frail a ship? Who are you, and whence? Surely you are some king’s daughter, and this boy belongs to the gods.” And as he spoke he pointed to the babe, for its face shone like the morning star.
But Danae only held down her head and sobbed out, “Tell me to what land I have come, and among what men I have fallen.”
And he said, “Polydectes is King of this isle, and he is my brother. Men call me Dictys the Netter, because I catch the fish of the shore.”
Then Danae fell down at his feet and embraced his knees and cried, “O Sir, have pity upon a stranger, whom cruel doom has driven to your land, and let me live in your house as a servant. But treat me honorably, for I was once a king’s daughter, and this my boy is of no common race. I will not be a charge to you, or eat the bread of idleness, for I am more skilful in weaving and embroidery than all the maidens of my land.”
And she was going on, but Dictys stopped her and raised her up and said, “My daughter, I am old, and my hairs are growing gray, while I have no children to make my home cheerful. Come with me, then, and you shall be a daughter to me and to my wife, and this babe shall be our grandchild.”
So Danae was comforted and went home with Dictys, the good fisherman, and was a daughter to him and to his wife, till fifteen years were past.
HOW PERSEUS VOWED A RASH VOW
Fifteen years were past and gone, and the babe was now grown to be a tall lad and a sailor.
His mother called him Perseus, but all the people in the isle called him the King of the Immortals.
For though he was but fifteen, Perseus was taller by a head than any man in the island. And he was brave and truthful, and gentle and courteous, for good old Dictys had trained him well, and well it was for Perseus that he had done so. For now Danae and her son fell into great danger, and Perseus had need of all his strength to defend his mother and himself.