Why the Pegasus
Once there was a beautiful young maiden who was seduced by the god Poseidon. In their all-consuming passion, this couple -- god and mortal -- had the effrontery to make love in a shrine of the virgin goddess Athena. Needless to say, chaste Athena did not feel honored by their act: she was, in fact, outraged, and, as enraged goddesses are wont, sought revenge for this sacrilege. Wreaking vengeance on a fellow deity such as Poseidon could prove difficult, so Athena looked to the hapless young lady who was, incidentally, both foolish and vain.
Fascinated with her own beauty, the young woman liked nothing better than to spend hours before her brightly polished bronze mirror, applying the latest in make-up and tressing her locks in the most fashionable styles. Athena in her wisdom --she was, after all, the goddess of wisdom-- saw an excellent chance for a most apropos revenge. She transformed this lovely young woman into the hideous young monster her name, Medusa, still conjures: her gleaming locks became teeming serpents; her luminous eyes turned glowing red; the pearl-white of her teeth grew into ivory tusks; her creamy satin skin changed into green flaky scales; and her once-delicate tongue now jutted indelicately out of her hissing mouth. All-in-all, a most arresting sight, enough to change a person to stone, precisely the effect Medusa had henceforth upon anyone who ventured to look at her face. In despair, Medusa fled to the land of the Gorgons, creatures like herself and now her sisters. There she remained, wretched, odious, petrifying -- and a challenge to any enterprising young hero.
Such a young man was Perseus, son of Zeus and the mortal Danae. In an effort to prove his manhood, he boasted to his tyrannical king that he would seek out the Gorgon Medusa and bring back her ugly head. The gods smiled upon the young hero and his naive temerity. With the help of Hermes and the unrelenting Athena, Perseus found Medusa and lopped off her head, simultaneously avoiding a stony fate.
The deed done, Perseus leaped back astounded, for from the black blood and grisly gore of the slain monster, there sprung forth a most remarkable creature, a graceful embodiment of freedom and song, the winged horse Pegasus. But how could this be? How could such ugliness give birth to such beauty?
You see, nothing of the gods is ever wasted. A child of Poseidon, god of horses, and the once-beautiful, once-desired Medusa, had lain unborn within its monstrous mother, awaiting yearning for the release that Perseus' sword allowed. Once freed, the horse-child sprouted wings and took to the sky. Paradoxically, Medusa's final bequest was a winged steed able to traverse earth and sky -- a wondrous vision of freedom and poetic inspiration through the ages.
Such then is the birth of the Pegasus that CT COLT has adopted for our logo. Inspired by the freedom and flight of the winged horse, we seek to break loose from the confines of monolingualism and its parochial view, and on the wings of language to attain an ecumenical vision of the world. We hope to inspire others to do the same, for why else would we teach?
by Joyce C. Narden
Amity Regional High School