Illustrations for Storynory by Nick Hayes. Click to enlarge.
Jason and the Argonauts travel the seas on their way to Colchis to fetch the Golden fleece. On one stop along the way, they meet Amycus, the inhospitable king, who challenges their strongest hero to a boxing contest. On another stop they meet a prophet to is tortured by Harpes for the crime of telling the future too accurately.
Read by Richard Scott
Illustrated by Nick Hayes
Written by Bertie
With the music of Gabriella Burnel.
Jason and Medea, The Story of the Golden Fleece, told in verse in four parts, by Storynory.
Part Two : The Voyage to Colchis.
They rowed across the deep black sea
A never ending stretch.
They heaved and hoe-ed, and on they rowed
For the fleece they needs must fetch
And as they rowed, over them watched,
Poseidon the god of the sea
He watched them row, and he watched them go
To reach their destiny.
Wherever they touched the land, the sparkling sand
They jumped on the beach with glee.
Those that met them, clothed and fed them
Save one. They called him Amycus,
The inhospitable king.
He knew no love, save the boxing glove,
He loved to fight in the ring.
“Choose a man”, he said, the best you can,
To take me on, I insist.
Your only right is to put up a fight
My guests are kissed with a fist.
His words of welcome irked them sorely,
Oh for Heracles.
He had a knuckle, that made men buckle
And crouch down on bended knees.
But Heracles was left well behind
And Polydeuces stepped forth.
He was an Argonaut, who many fights had fought,
He snarled his teeth with wrath.
The king exchanged a stare for a snarl
Like a cornered lion
He gazed at him, and blazed at him,
and held up his fists of iron.
Daunting gauntlets, Amycus wore,
That covered his fighting fists.
His second helped him pull them on
And tied them around his wrists.
The Argonaut’s man held steady and ready
And listened as Amycus spoke
“I’ll put blood on your cheek, and knock you to next week
Your cloak with red I’ll soak. ”
Polydeuces nodded his acknowledgment,
And so begun the fight.
He danced on his toes and dodged the blows
And deflected his opponent’s might.
But Amycus landed some heavy hits,
His fists tore through the air.
Teeth clattered, and ribs shattered.
The fight was brutal but fair.
But no fool was our hero Polydeuces
He knew how to measure a man.
He observed and learned the pattern of the fight,
And soon he had a plan.
Amycus acted more with anger than skill
In rage did he attack him.
He fell into a trap
. He left a gap
And our hero whacked him.
Polydeuces hit with the force of a thunderbolt
It was a skull shattering blow
There was a terrible crack, a deadly attack
He laid his opponent low.
All round there was awe and roars from the crowd.
And outloud Jason said:
Your king is down. He’s bust his crown.
Your king – he is dead.
But the people of that place bore no grace
They knew not how to lose.
Their king had died. The women cried.
And then, there were jeers and boos.
Above the roar, a voice spoke out loud:
“The killer of the king must die”
With no more words, they drew their swords
And at him they did fly.
But the Argonauts stepped forth
A line of prickly tips.
They fiercely fought back, and repelled the attack,
And more came out from the ships.
With shields and spears, and cries and cheers,
They fell upon the foe.
They cut and thrust and bones did bust
No mercy did they show.
For it is the law of Zeus, Lord of the gods,
Who rules form East to West.
Wherever you live, a warm welcome you must give
For a stranger is a guest.
The heroes returned to their trustworthy ship
And sailed the Bosporus straight
A meandering sea, like a crooked knee,
That leads them to their fate.
When under their toes, the waters rose,
Choppy was not the word.
Propelled from Hell, a wave did swell,
And flung them like a bird.
The heroes yelled, and tightly held,
To the rim of their boat.
Up and down they dived, in fear for their lives,
And only just afloat.
When at last they hit the land with a thud,
To the coast of Bethynia they had come
They were glad to be here, for near lived a seer
The prophetic one.
Phineas the Bethynian, was frightfully thin,
His gift was a curse.
He could clearly see, your far off destiny,
For better or for worse.
But he was at odds, with the vengeful gods
And a cruel crazy Zeus,
Cut him down to size, and blinded his eyes
And harpies he let loose.
Now harpies harp on, they are terrible birds,
They are furies with fearsome claws,
They have women’s heads, and women’s breasts,
And they grab food from your jaws.
And every time Phineas tried to eat,
A harpy dove down from the sky.
It snatched the food, and flew off to its brood,
With squawk and a terrible cry.
“Oh Argonauts, I expected you ,
Bravest of the Greeks
You have come to me, for my prophesy
And wait for me to speak.”
“But before I tell, your future well,
Listen to my present.
The gods have meant to torment me
And this terrible torture sent.”
“Oh to you I pray, chase those fiends away
Those harrowing harpies kill me.
Give me your word, you’ll banish those birds
And your future told will be. ”
Now the Borriad twins, the sons of the wind,
Stepped forth and said “no fuss.
If it’s speed you need, we are swift indeed,
They won’t get away from us”.
They hide in a cleft of a rock to the left,
Of the old man and his dinner.
And when the harpies appear, to torment the seer,
And to make the prophet thinner,
The twins jump out, the birds to clout,
And chase them over the sand.
And up they fly, to their nests in the sky
For cliffs are safer than land.
But the terrible twins, are set to win
There are no buts or ifs.
They climb with ease, like cats up trees,
And scale the difficult cliffs.
The nests they reach, and the harpies screech,
And the boys attack with their knives
But Juno sent word, to save the birds,
And spare them their terrible lives.
A boy with wings, the message brings
To stave off from the fight.
“Twins of the wind, hold back from sin,
What you do is not right!”
“These birds are absurd, but they fulfil the word,
Of Zeus the almighty Lord.
Man cannot understand, his future in hand,
Or The gods would be frightfully bored.”
“Phineas tells, the future too well.
There’s a devil in his detail.
If he keeps it vague, we’ll rid his plague,
And again you may set sail.”
“For the best prophesy is ambiguity
Nothing is ever clear,
And horoscopes are meant for dopes
And play on hope and fear.”
And the twins climbed down, and returned to ground
And to Phineas this message brought.
And he listed well, and the future did tell
So vague as to be worth naught.
And so the sailors sailed on to their destiny
That was dark as a moonless night.
Through the clanging cliffs and the swirling pool
To the sea that is black and bright.
And at last they came, to the realm of Aeetes
He was king around those parts.
That land of Colchis, kissed by the gods,
With wine, women, arts.
But Jason pondered, how far they had wandered,
His head upon his chin.
His thoughts of gloom, his visions of doom
The frightful fix they were in.
For he was never a man with a ready plan.
And now he was frightfully vexed.
His head full of fear, and he had no idea.
Exactly what they should do next.
And that was the second part of Jason and Medea, written for Storynory by Bertie, and read by me Richard Scott. In the next part, Natasha takes over in the voice of the Georgian Princess and witch, Medea. Our production of Jason and Medea is accompanied by the Music of Gabriella Burnell and the illustrations of Nick Hayes. For now, from me, Richard Scott,
Summary: Jason and the Argonauts stop at the Island of King Amycus, who challenges all visitors to a boxing match. Polydeuces takes him on and kills him in the boxing ring. Amycus’s army attack the Argonauts, the heroes fight back and sack their city.
A huge wave carries them up the Bosphorus, and they land in Bethynia. There they meet Phineas the seer who is tormented by Harpes. These birds (with women’s heads and breast) snatch food from his mouth so he is always hungry. The Argonauts help him. The Borread twins, the sons of the wind, chase the Harpes up the cliffs. Juno sends a messenger to tell them not to kill the Harpes. Phineas’s sin was to tell the future to well. If he keeps it vague, the Harpes will leave him alone. Phineas gives them a useless prophecy. They sail on and reach Colchis. Jason is not sure what to do next.