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Medusa was once a beautiful maiden with two beautiful sisters. With the fairest of skin, and beautiful golden hair. She was a priestess to the god Athena, and was devoted to a life of celibacy.
However, she was wooed by Poseidon. Medusa soon fell for him. She forgot her vows of celibacy and married him.
For this Medusa was punished in the most terrible manner by Athena. Each lock of her golden hair was turned into a venomous snakes, and her eyes into bloodshot orbs of fury that froze anyone who looked into them into stone.
Seeing herself as such a repulsive creature, she fled Greece. Wandering about, abhorred, dreaded, and shunned by the rest of the world, she turned into a monster worthy of her appearance.
In despair, she fled to Africa, where, while wandering restlessly from place to place, young snakes dropped from her hair; that is how, according to the ancient Greeks, Africa became a hotbed of venomous reptiles.
With the curse of Athena upon her, she turned whomever she gazed upon into stone, until years later, after a life of nameless misery, deliverance came to her in the shape of death, at the hands of Perseus.
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