Padraic Colum > The Golden Fleece > Part III. The Heroes of the Quest > Chapter II. Peleus and His Bride from the Sea > II
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived before Achilles.  1921.

Part III. The Heroes of the Quest
Chapter II. Peleus and His Bride from the Sea
WITH his hero’s heart beating more than ever it had beaten yet, Peleus went into the cave. Kneeling beside her he looked down upon the goddess. The dress she wore was like green and silver mail. Her face and limbs were pearly, but through them came the radiance that belongs to the immortals.   1
  He touched the hair of the goddess of the sea, the yellow hair that was so long that it might cover her all over. As he touched her hair she started up, wakening suddenly out of her sleep. His hands touched her hands and held them. Now he knew that if he should loose his hold upon her she would escape from him into the depths of the sea, and that thereafter no command from the immortals would bring her to him.   2
  She changed into a white bird that strove to bear itself away. Peleus held to its wings and struggled with the bird. She changed and became a tree. Around the trunk of the tree Peleus clung. She changed once more, and this time her form became terrible: a spotted leopard she was now, with burning eyes; but Peleus held to the neck of the fierce-appearing leopard and was not affrighted by the burning eyes. Then she changed and became as he had seen her first—a lovely maiden, with the brow of a goddess, and with long yellow hair.   3
  But now there was no radiance in her face or in her limbs. She looked past Peleus, who held her, and out to the wide sea. “Who is he,” she cried, “who has been given this mastery over me?”   4
  Then said the hero: “I am Peleus, and Zeus has given me the mastery over thee. Wilt thou come with me, Thetis? Thou art my bride, given me by him who is highest amongst the gods, and if thou wilt come with me, thou wilt always be loved and reverenced by me.”   5
  “Unwillingly I leave the sea,” she cried, “unwillingly I go with thee, Peleus.”   6
  But life in the sea was not for her any more now that she was mastered. She went to Peleus’s ship and she went to Phthia, his country. And when the hero and the sea goddess were wedded the immortal gods and goddesses came to their hall and brought the bride and the bridegroom wondrous gifts. The three sisters who are called the Fates came also. These wise and ancient women said that the son born of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis would be a man greater than Peleus himself.   7



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