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← The myth of Jason, Medea, and the Golden Fleece - Iseult Gillespie

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Showing Revision 1 created 07/20/2020 by lauren mcalpine .

  1. In the center of Colchis
    in an enchanted garden,
  2. the hide of a mystical flying ram
    hung from the tallest oak,
  3. guarded by a dragon who never slept.
  4. Jason would have to tread carefully
    to pry it from King Aeetes’ clutches
  5. and win back his promised throne.
  6. But diplomacy was hardly
    one of the Argonauts’ strengths.
  7. Jason would have to navigate
    this difficult task alone.
  8. Or so he thought.
  9. Leaving most of his bedraggled crew
    to rest,

  10. Jason made for the palace with some
    of his more even-tempered men.
  11. His first instinct was to simply ask
    the king for his prized possession.
  12. But Aeetes was enraged
    at the hero’s presumption.
  13. If this outsider wanted his treasure,
  14. he would have to prove his worth
    by facing three perilous tasks.
  15. The trials would begin the following day,
    and Jason was dismissed to prepare.

  16. But another member of the royal family
    was also plotting something.
  17. Thanks to the encouragement
    of Jason’s guardians on Mount Olympus,
  18. Medea, princess of Colchis
    and priestess of the witch goddess Hecate,
  19. had fallen in love with the challenger.
  20. She intended to protect her beloved
    from her father’s tricks — at any cost.
  21. After a sleepless night, Jason
    somberly marched to the castle—

  22. but was intercepted.
  23. The princess armed him
    with strange vials and trinkets,
  24. in exchange for a promise
    of eternal devotion.
  25. As they whispered
    and planned their victory,
  26. both hero and princess fell deeply
    under each other’s spell.
  27. Unaware of his daughter’s scheming,

  28. the king confidently led Jason
    to face his first task.
  29. The hero was brought
    to a huge field of oxen
  30. that lay between him and the fleece,
  31. and told that he had to plough the land
    around the crowds of oxen.
  32. A simple task— or so Jason thought.
  33. But Medea had concocted
    a fire-proof ointment,
  34. and so he plowed the flickering fields
  35. For the second task,

  36. he was given a box of serpent’s teeth
    to plant into the scorched earth.
  37. As soon as Jason scattered them, each seed
    sprouted into a bloodthirsty warrior.
  38. They burst up around him,
    barricading his way forward,
  39. but Medea had prepared him
    for this task as well.
  40. Hurling a heavy stone she had given him
    into their midst,
  41. the fighters turned on themselves
    as they scrabbled for it,
  42. letting him slip by the fray.
  43. For the third task,

  44. Jason was finally face to face
    with the guardian of the Fleece.
  45. Dodging sharp claws and singeing breath,
  46. Jason scrambled up the tree
    and sprinkled a sweet-smelling concoction
  47. over the dragon.
  48. As the strains of Medea’s incantations
    reached its ears
  49. and the potion settled in its eyes,
    the dragon sank into a deep sleep.
  50. Elated, Jason climbed
    to the top of the tallest oak,
  51. where he slipped the gleaming fleece
    off its branch.
  52. When the king saw the hero
    sprinting away—

  53. not only with the fleece,
    but his daughter in tow—
  54. he realized he had been betrayed.
  55. Furious, he sent an army
    led by his son Absyrtus
  56. to bring the ill-gotten prize
    and his conniving daughter home.
  57. But all the players in this tale
    had underestimated the viciousness

  58. of these disgraced lovers.
  59. To the horror of the Gods, Jason ran
    his sword through Absyrtus in cold blood.
  60. Medea then helped him scatter pieces
    of the body along the shore,
  61. distracting her grieving father
    while the Argonauts escaped.
  62. As Colchis and their pursuers
    grew smaller on the horizon,

  63. a solemn silence fell aboard the Argo.
  64. Jason could now return
    to Thessaly victorious—
  65. but his terrible act
    had tarnished his crew’s honor,
  66. and turned the Gods against them.
  67. Buffeted by hostile winds,
  68. the wretched crew washed up
    on the island of Circe the sorceress.
  69. Medea begged her aunt
    to absolve them of wrongdoing—
  70. but bloody deeds
    are not so easily forgotten,
  71. and fallen heroes
    not so rapidly redeemed.