OF THE ODYSSEY
REV. ALFRED J. CHURCH, M.A.
Sometime Professor of Latin in University College, London
Wit/i Illustrations after FLAXMAN
SEELEY AND CO. LIMITED
38 GREAT RUSSELL STREET
Coyrilht in Ike Unitca States.
FOURTEEN years ago, in introducing my
'Stories from Homer' to the public, I ex-
pressed the hope that they would 'repre-
sent Homer not unfaithfully to readers, old
and young, who did not know him in the
original.' The book has found, on both
sides of the Atlantic, many such readers,
and not a few, I am proud to think, who,
knowing the original, have judged this
adaptation to be not altogether unworthy
of it. If I could have anticipated so warm
a welcome for my little work-the sale
now exceeds twenty thousand copies I
should not have attempted to compress
into a single volume the substance of the
two poems. The two volumes which I
now publish, under the titles of The Story
of the Iliad,' and 'The Story of the
Odyssey,' give a much fuller, and, I trust,
a more adequate presentment of them.
In the first of these the narrative has
been made continuous, and completed by
a beginning and an ending, both very
brief, and containing, it may be said,
nothing that is not strictly Homeric; in
the second, Homer's own order has been
restored, so that Ulysses now tells his
adventures in the first person.
1. THE COUNSEL OF ATHENP,
II. THE ASSEMBLY,
III. NESTOR'S TALE,
IV. IN SPARTA, .
V. MENELAUS'S TALE,
VI. ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT,
VII. NAUSICAA, .
VIII. ALCINOUS, .. .
IX. THE PHAIACIANS,. .
X. THE CYCLOPS,. .
XI. EOLUS; THE LESTRYGONS; CIRCLE,
XII. THE DWELLINGS OF THE DEAD,
XIII. THE SIRENS; SCYLLA; THE OXEN
XIV. ITHACA,. .
XV. EUMIEUS, THE SWINEHERD,
XVI. THE RETURN OF TELEMACHUS,
XVII. ULYSSES AND TELEMACHUS,
XVIII. ULYSSES IN HIS HOME,
OF THE SUN, 156
XIX. ULYSSES IN HIS HOME continued) 238
XX. ULYSSES IS DISCOVERED BY HIS NURSE,. 250
XXI. THE TRIAL OF THE BOW, 263
XXII. THE SLAYING OF THE SUITORS, .275
XXIII. THE END OF THE WANDERING, .281
XXIV. THE TRIUMPH OF ULYSSES, .287
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PENELOPE SURPRISED BY THE SUITORS,
PENELOPE'S DREAM, .
ULYSSES FOLLOWING THE CAR OF NAUSICAA,
ULYSSES WEEPS AT THE SONG OF DEMODOCUS,
ULYSSES GIVING WINE TO POLYPHEMUS,
ULYSSES AT THE TABLE OF CIRCE, .
ULYSSES ASLEEP LAID ON HIS OWN COAST BY THE
ULYSSES CONVERSING WITH EUMEUS,
ULYSSES AND HIS DOG,
ULYSSES PREPARING TO FIGHT WITH IRUS,
EURYCLEA DISCOVERS ULYSSES,
PENELOPE CARRIES THE BOW OF ULYSSES TO THE SUITORS,
ULYSSES KILLING THE SUITORS,
THE MEETING OF ULYSSES AND PENELOPE,
THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
THE COUNSEL OF ATHENE.
WHEN the great city of Troy had been
taken, all the chiefs who had fought against
it set sail for their homes. But there was
wrath in heaven against them, so that they did
not find a safe and happy return. For one
was shipwrecked, and another was shamefully
slain by his false wife in his palace, and others
found all things at home troubled and changed,
and were driven to seek new dwellings else-
where; and some were driven far and wide
about the world before they saw their native
land again. Of all, the wise Ulysses was he
that wandered farthest and suffered most, for
when ten years had well-nigh passed, he was
still far away from Ithaca, his kingdom.
2 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
The gods were gathered in council in the
hall of Olympus, all but Poseidon, for he had
gone to feast with the Ethiopians. Now
Poseidon was he who most hated Ulysses,
and kept him from his home.
Then spake Zeus among the immortal gods:
"What an idle thing it is that men lay the
blame for what they suffer on the gods! See
how /Egisthus hath paid the penalty of his
misdeeds. For he took the wife of King Aga-
memnon, and slew the King when he had come
back to his home; and this he did though we
warned him against such wickedness, sending
to him Hermes, our messenger; and now he
hath paid the price "
Then Athene made answer: Verily, he
hath well earned his fate. So perish all that
do such deeds! It is for Ulysses that my
heart is rent. Sore affliction doth he suffer in
the island of the sea, where the daughter of
Atlas keepeth him, seeking to make him forget
his native land. And he, yearning to see
though it were the smoke rising up from the
land of his birth, is fain to die. And thou
THE COUNSEL OF ATHENE.
regardest it not at all. Did he not offer thee
many sacrifices in the land of Troy? Where-
fore hast thou such wrath against him ?"
To her Zeus made reply: "What is this
that thou sayest, my daughter? It is Poseidon
that hath great wrath against Ulysses, because
he blinded his son Polyphemus the Cyclops.
But come, let us take counsel together that he
may return to his home, for Poseidon will not
be able to contend against us all."
Then said Athene: If this be thy will,
then let us speed Hermes the messenger to
the island of Calypso, and let him declare to
the goddess our purpose that Ulysses shall
return to his home. And I will go to Ithaca,
and stir up the spirit of his son Telemachus,
that first he speak out his mind to the suitors
of his mother who waste his substance, and
next that he go to Sparta and to Pylos, seek-
ing tidings of his father. So shall the youth
win good report among men."
So she went to Ithaca, and there she took
upon her the form of Mentes, who was chief of
THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
Now there were gathered in the house of
Ulysses many princes from the islands, suitors
of the Queen Penelope, for they said that
Ulysses was dead, and that she should choose
another husband. These were gathered to-
gether, and were sitting playing draughts and
feasting. And Telemachus sat among them,
vexed at heart, for they wasted his substance;
neither was he master in his house. But when
he saw the guest at the door, he rose from his
place, and welcomed him, and made him sit
down, and commanded that they should give
him food and wine. And when he had ended
his meal, Telemachus asked him of his busi-
Thereupon the false Mentes said: My name
is Mentes, and I am King of the Taphians, and
I am sailing to Cyprus for copper, taking iron
in exchange. Now I have been long time the
friend of this house, of thy father and thy
father's father, and I came trusting to see thy
father, for they told me that he was here. But
now I see that some god hath hindered his
return, for that he is yet alive I know full
THE COUNSEL OP ATHENE.
well. But tell me, who are these that I see?
Is this the gathering of a clan, or a wedding
feast? Truly, a wise man would be wroth to
see such doings."
Telemachus made answer: "O sir, while my
father was yet alive, our house was rich and
honoured; but now that he is gone, things are
not well with me. I would not grieve so
much had he fallen in battle before Troy;
then had the Greeks builded a great barrow
for him, and even for his son, had he won
great renown. But now the storms of the sea
have swept him away. No honour hath he,
and I am left in sore distress. For these
whom thou seest are the princes of the islands
that come here to woo my mother. She
neither refuseth nor accepteth; and meanwhile
they sit here, and waste my substance."
Then said the false Mentes: "Now may
the gods help thee Thou art indeed in sore
need of Ulysses. Would that he could come
and stand at the entering in of the gate with
helmet and shield and a spear in either hand,
such as he was when he came to my father's
6 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
house from Ephyra! Thither he had gone
seeking from Ilus, who was King of the land,
a deadly drug wherewith to anoint his arrows.
But Ilus, because he had the gods in awe,
would not give it to him; but my father gave
it, so much did he love him. But all these
things are with the gods, whether he shall
come back or no. But now hearken to my
counsel. First call an assembly of the people.
Bid the suitors go back, each man to his
home; and as for thy mother, if she be moved
to wed, let her return to her father's house,
that her kinsfolk may furnish a wedding feast,
and prepare gifts such as a daughter well
beloved should have. Afterwards do thou fit
up a ship with twenty oars, and go, inquire
concerning thy father, if haply some man may
give thee tidings of him; or, may be, thou
wilt hear a voice from Zeus concerning him.
Go to Pylos first, and afterwards to Sparta,
where Menelaiis dwelleth, who of all the
Greeks came back the last to his home. If
thou shouldest hear that he is dead, then come
back hither, and raise a mound for him, and
THE COUNSEL OF ATHENE.
pay thereon due burial rites, and give thy
mother to a husband. And when thou hast
made an end of all these things, then devise
in thy heart how thou mayest slay the suitors,
whether it be by force or craft, for it is time
for thee to have the thoughts of a man. Dost
thou not know what glory Orestes won among
men, for that he slew /Egisthus, the slayer of
his sire ?"
Then said Telemachus: Thou speakest
these things out of a friendly heart, as a father
might speak to his son, nor will I ever forget
them. But now, I pray thee, abide here for
a space, that I may give thee a goodly gift,
such as friends give to friends, to be an heir-
loom in thy house."
But the false Mentes said, Keep me no
longer, for I am eager to depart; give me thy
gift when I shall return."
So the goddess departed; like to an eagle of
the sea was she as she flew. And Telemachus
knew her to be a goddess as she went.
Meanwhile Phemius the minstrel sang to
the suitors, and his song was of the ill return
THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
that the Greeks had from Troy through the
counsel of Athene.
When Penelop6 heard the song, she came
down from the upper chamber where she sat,
and two handmaids bare her company. And
when she came to where the suitors sat, she
stood by the gate of the hall holding her
shining veil before her face. Then spake she
to the minstrel, weeping the while, and said:
" Phemius, thou knowest many songs concern-
ing the deeds of gods and men; sing, there-
fore, one of these, and let the guests drink the
wine in silence. But stay this pitiful strain,
for it breaketh my heart to hear it. Surely,
of all women I am the most unhappy, so
famous was the husband for whom I mourn."
But Telemachus made reply: Why dost
thou grudge the minstrel, my mother, to make
us glad in such fashion as his spirit biddeth
him? It is no blame to him that he singeth
of the ill return of the Greeks, for ever do men
most prize the song that soundeth newest in
their ears. Endure, therefore, to listen, for not
Ulysses only missed his return, but many a
THE COUNSEL OF ATHENE.
famous chief besides. Go, then, to thy cham-
ber, and mind thy household affairs, and bid
thy handmaids ply their tasks. Speech be-
longeth unto men, and chiefly to me that am
the master in this house."
Then went she back to her chamber, for she
was amazed at her son, with such authority did
he speak. Then she bewailed her lord, till
Athene sent down sleep upon her eyes.
When she was gone, Telemachus spake to
the suitors, saying: Let us now feast and be
merry, and let there be no brawling among us.
It is a good thing to listen to a minstrel that
hath a voice as the voice of a god. But in the
morning let us go to the assembly, that I may
declare my purpose, to wit, that ye leave this
hall, and eat your own substance. But if ye
deem it a better thing that ye should waste
another man's goods, and make no recom-
pense, then work your will. But certainly
Zeus shall requite you."
So he spake, and they marvelled all that he
used such boldness. And Antinoiis answered:
Surely, Telemachus, it is of the bidding of
IO THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
the gods that thou speakest so boldly. There-
fore I pray that Zeus may never make thee
King in Ithaca, for, indeed, the kingdom is thy
Then said Telemachus: It is no ill thing
to be a king, for his house growth rich, and
he himself is honoured. But there are others
in Ithaca, young and old, who may have the
kingship, now that Ulysses is dead. Yet
know that I will be lord of my own house and
of the slaves which Ulysses won for himself
with his own spear."
Thereupon spake Eurymachus, saying: It
is with the gods to say who shall be King in
Ithaca; but that thou shouldest keep thine own
goods and be lord in thine own house, no man
can deny. Never may that man come who
shall wrest thy substance from thee against thy
will! But tell me, who is this stranger that
came but just now to thy house? Did he
bring tidings of thy father? Or came he on
some matter of his own? In strange fashion
did he depart, tarrying not that we might know
him. Yet he seemed one of no mean degree."
THE COUNSEL OF ATHENA.
Telemachus made answer: "Verily, Eury-
machus, the day of my father's return hath
gone by forever. I make no count of tidings,
whencesoever they may come, nor do I regard
any divination wherewith any diviner may an-
swer my mother, when she entertaineth him in
her hall. But as for this stranger, he said that
he was Mentes, King of the Taphians."
So spake Telemachus, but in his heart he
knew that the stranger was Athene. Then the
suitors turned them to the dance and to the
song, making merry till the darkness fell.
Then went they each to his own house to sleep.
But Telemachus went to his chamber, pon-
dering many things in his heart. And Eury-
cleia, that had nursed him when he was little,
went with him, bearing torches in her hands.
He opened the door of the chamber, and took
off his doublet, and put it in the wise woman's
hands. She folded it, and smoothed it, and
hung it on a pin, and went forth from the
room, and pulled to the door, and made it fast.
And all the night Telemachus thought in his
heart of the journey which Athene had showed
12 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
WHEN the morning came Telemachus bade
the heralds call the people to the assembly.
So the heralds called them, and they came in
haste. And when they were gathered together,
he went his way to the place of meeting, hold-
ing in his hand a spear, and two dogs followed
him. Then did Athene shed a marvellous
grace upon him, so that all men wondered at
him, as he sat him down in his father's place.
First spake /Egyptus, who was bowed with
many years, and was very wise. Four sons he
had. One had gone with Ulysses to Troy,
and one was among the suitors of the Queen,
and two abode with their father in the field.
He said: "Hearken to me, men of Ithaca!
Never hath assembly been called in Ithaca
since Ulysses departed. Who now hath called
us together ? If it be Telemachus, what doth
he want? Hath he heard any tidings of the
coming back of the host? He, methinks, is a
true man. May Zeus be with him and grant
him his heart's desire! "
So spake the old man, and Telemachus was
glad at the omen of his speech. Then he rose
up and said: -
I have great trouble in my heart, men of
Ithaca, for first my father is not, whom ye all
loved; and next the princes of the islands come
hither, making suit to my mother, but she
waits ever for her husband, when he shall
return. And they devour all our substance;
nor is Ulysses here to defend it, and I, in truth,
am not able. And this is a grievous wrong,
and not to be borne."
Then he dashed his sceptre on the ground,
and sat down, weeping. And Antinoiis, who
was one of the suitors, rose up and said: -
Nay, Telemachus, blame not us, but blame
thy mother, who indeed is crafty above all
women. For now this is the fourth year that
we have come suing for her hand, and she has
cheated us with hopes. Hear now this that she
14 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
did. She set up a great warp for weaving, and
said to us: Listen, ye that are my suitors.
Hasten not my marriage till I finish this web to
be a burial cloth for Laertes, for indeed it would
be foul shame if he who has won great posses-
sions should lack this honour.' So she spake,
and for three years she cheated us, for what she
wove in the day she unravelled at night. But
when the fourth year was come, one of her
maidens told us of the matter, and we came
upon her by night and found her unravelling
the web, even what she had woven in the day.
Then did she finish it, much against her will.
Send away, therefore, thy mother, and bid her
marry whom she will. But till this be done we
will not depart."
Then answered Telemachus: How can I
send her away against her will, who bare me
and brought me up? Much forfeit must I pay
to Icarus, her father; ay, and the curses of my
mother would abide on me. Wherefore, I can-
not do this thing."
So he spake; and there came two eagles,
which flew abreast till they came over the
PELLOi'E SURPRISED) BY THE SUITORS.
assembly. Then did they wheel in the air, and
shook out from each many feathers, and tare
each other, and so departed.
Then cried Alitherses, the soothsayer: Be-
ware, ye suitors, for great trouble is coming to
you, and to others also. And as for Ulysses, I
said when he went to Troy that he should
return after twenty years; and so it shall be."
And when the suitors would not listen, Tele-
machus said: Yet give me a ship and twenty
rowers, that I may go to Pylos and to Sparta,
if haply I may hear news of my father. And
if I hear that he is dead, then will I come back
hither, and raise up a mound for him, and per-
form for him due burial rites, and give my
mother to a husband."
Having thus spoken, he sat down, and
Mentor, whom Ulysses, when he departed, set
over his household, rose up in the midst, and
spake, saying: Now henceforth never let any
king be kind and gentle in his heart or minded
to work righteousness. Let him rather be a
hard man and unrighteous. For now no man
remembereth Ulysses of all the people whose
16 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
lord he was. Yet was he gentle as a father.
If the suitors are minded to do evil deeds, I
hinder them not. They do them at the peril
of their own heads. It is with the people that
I am wroth, to see how they sit speechless, and
cry not shame upon the suitors; and yet they
are many in number, and the suitors are few."
Then Leocritus, who was one of the suitors,
answered: Surely thy wits wander, O Men-
tor, that thou biddest the people put us down.
Of a truth, if Ulysses himself should come
back, and should seek to drive the suitors from
the hall, it would fare ill with him. An evil
doom would he meet, if he fought with them
that were more in number. As for the people,
let them go to their own houses. Let Mentor
speed the young man's voyage, for he is a
friend of his house. Yet I doubt whether he
will ever accomplish it."
So he spake, and the assembly was dis-
But Telemachus went apart to the shore of
the sea, and he washed his hands in the water
of the sea, and prayed to Athene, saying:
" Hear me, thou that didst come yesterday to
the house, and bid me take a ship, and sail
across the sea, seeking tidings of my father!
But the people delay my purpose, the suitors
stirring them up in the wickedness of their
And while he prayed, Athene stood by him,
like to Mentor in shape and speech. She
spake, saying: Thou art not, I trow, without
spirit and wit, and art like to be a true son of
Ulysses and Penelope. Wherefore, I have
good hopes that this journey of which thou
speakest will not be in vain. But as for the
suitors, think not of them, for they talk folly,
and know not of the doom that is even now
close upon them. Go, therefore, and talk with
the suitors as before, and get ready meat for a
journey, wine and meal. And I will gather
men who will offer themselves freely for the
journey, and I will find a ship also, the best in
Then Telemachus returned to the house,
and the suitors were flaying goats and singe-
ing swine in the court. Arid Antinoiis caught
18 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
him by the hand and said, Eat and drink,
Telemachus, and we will find a ship and
rowers for thee, that thou mayest go where
thou wilt, to inquire for thy father."
But Telemachus answered: Think ye that
I will eat and drink with you, who so shame-
fully waste my substance? Be sure of this,
that I will seek vengeance against you, and if
ye deny me a ship, I will even go in another
So he spake, and dragged his hand from the
hand of Antinoiis.
And another of the suitors said, Now will
Telemachus go and seek help against us from
Pylos or from Sparta, or may be he will put
poison in our cups, and so destroy us."
And another said: Perchance he also will
perish, as his father has perished. Then
should we have much labour, even dividing all
his substance, but the house should we give to
his mother and to her husband."
So they spake, mocking him. But he went
to the chamber of his father, in which were
ranged many casks of old wine, and store of
gold and bronze, and clothing and olive oil;
and of these things the prudent Eurycleia,
who was the keeper of the house, had care.
To her he spake: Mother, make ready for
me twelve jars of wine, not of the best, but
of that which is next to it, and twenty meas-
ures of barley-meal. At even will I take them,
when my mother sleeps, for I go to Pylos and
Sparta, if perchance I may hear news of my
But the old woman said, weeping: "What
meanest thou, being an only son, thus to travel
abroad ? Wilt thou perish, as thy father has
perished ? For this evil brood of suitors will
devise means to slay thee and divide thy
goods. Thou hadst better sit peaceably at
Then Telemachus said: "'Tis at the bid-
ding of the gods I go. Only swear that thou
wilt say naught to my mother till eleven or
twelve days be past, unless, perchance, she
should ask concerning me."
And the old woman sware that it should be
so. And Telemachus went again among the
20 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY
suitors. But Athene, meanwhile, taking his
shape, had gathered together a crew, and also
had borrowed a ship for the voyage. And, lest
the suitors should hinder the thing, she caused
a deep sleep to fall upon them, that they slept
where they sat. Then she came in the shape
of Mentor to the palace, and called Telemachus
forth, saying, The rowers are ready; let us
Then Athene led the way, and they found
the ship's crew upon the shore. To them
spake Telemachus, saying, Come now, my
friends, let us carry the food on board, for it is
all in the chamber, and no one knoweth of the
matter; neither my mother, nor any of the maid-
ens, but one woman only."
So they went to the house with him, and
carried all the provision, and stowed it in the
ship. Then Telemachus climbed the ship and
sat down on the stern, and Athene sat by him.
And when he called to the crew, they made
ready to depart. They raised the pine tree
mast, and set it in the hole that was made for
it, and they made it fast with stays. Then they
THE ASSEMBLY. 21
hauled up the white sails with ropes of ox-hide.
And the wind filled out the sail, and the water
seethed about the stem of the ship, as she
hasted through the water. And when all was
made fast in the ship, then they mixed wine in
the bowl, and poured out drink offerings to the
gods, especially to Zeus.
So all the night, and till the dawn, the ship
sped through the sea.
22 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
AT sunrise the ship came to Pylos, where
Nestor dwelt. Now it so chanced that the
people were offering a great sacrifice upon the
shore to Poseidon. Nine companies there
were, and in each company five hundred men,
and for the five hundred there were nine bulls.
And now they had tasted of the inner parts
and were burning the slices of flesh on the
thigh-bones to the god, when Telemachus's
company moored the ship and came forth from
it to the shore.
Athene spake to Telemachus, saying: "Now
hast thou no need to be ashamed. Thou hast
sailed across the sea to hear tidings of thy
father. Go, therefore, to Nestor, and learn
what counsel he hath in the deep of his heart."
But Telemachus answered, How shall I
speak to him, being so untried and young? "
"Nay," said the goddess; "but thou shalt
think of something thyself, and something the
gods will put into thy mouth."
So saying she led the way, and they came
to where Nestor sat, with his sons, and a great
company round him, making ready the feast.
When these saw the strangers, they clasped
their hands, and made them sit down on soft
fleeces of wool. And Nestor's son Peisistra-
tus bare messes of the best, and wine in a cup
of gold. To Athene first he gave the wine, for
he judged her to be the elder of the two, say-
ing, "Pray now to the Lord Poseidon, and
make thy drink offering, and when thou hast
so done, give the cup to thy friend that he
may do likewise."
Then Athene took the cup and prayed to
Poseidon, saying: Vouchsafe renown to Nes-
tor and his son, and a due return to the men
of Pylos for this great sacrifice. And grant
that we may accomplish that for which we
have come hither."
And the son of Ulysses prayed in like
24 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
When they had eaten and drunk their fill,
Nestor said: "Strangers, who are ye? Sail
ye over the seas for trade, or as pirates that
wander at hazard of their lives? "
To him Telemachus made reply, Athene
putting courage into his heart: We come
from Ithaca, and our errand concerns our-
selves. I seek for tidings of my father, who
in old time fought by thy side, and sacked the
city of Troy. Of all the others, as many as
did battle with the men of Troy, we have
heard, whether they have returned, or where
they died; but of this man even the death
remains untold. Therefore am I come hither
to thee, if haply thou mayest be willing to tell
me of him, whether thou sawest his death with
thine own eyes, or hast heard it from another.
Speak me no soft words for pity's sake, but
tell me plainly what thou hast seen."
Nestor made answer: Thou bringest to
my mind all that we endured, warring round
Priam's mighty town. There the best of us
were slain. Valiant Ajax lies there, and there
Achilles, and there Patroclus, and there my
NESTOR'S TALE. 25
own dear son Antilochus. Who could tell the
tale of all that we endured? Truly, no one, not
though thou shouldst abide here five years or
six to listen. For nine whole years we were
busy, devising the ruin of the enemy, which yet
Zeus brought not to pass. And always Ulysses
passed the rest in craft, thy father Ulysses, if
indeed thou art his son, and verily thy speech
is like to his; one would not think that a
younger man could be so like to an elder.
But listen to my tale. When we had sacked
Priam's town, Zeus devised evil against the
Greeks in the matter of their return, for indeed
they were not all prudent or just, and they had
provoked the wrath of Athene. First there
arose debate between the sons of Atreus.
They called the Greeks to the assembly at the
going down of the sun, a thing which was
against order, and the people came heavy with
wine. Then Menelaiis charged them that they
should return across the sea without delay; but
Agamemnon was minded to keep back the
host, and offer sacrifice to Athene, if haply he
might appease her wrath. Fool! for he knew
26 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
not that she was not to be persuaded. The
gods do not easily repent them of their pur-
poses. So the twain contended, and the Greeks
made a dreadful clamour. That night we
rested, being wroth with each other. And the
next day we of the one part launched our ships,
and put on board our possessions and the spoil
we had taken from Troy. One-half of the
people set sail, and one abode with Agamem-
non. And when we came to Tenedos there
arose fresh strife among us, for Ulysses turned
back to Troy, but I went on my way, for I
knew that the gods intended mischief against
us. Diomed also fled, and Menelaiis followed
after us, overtaking us in Lesbos. There we
doubted whether we should sail to seaward of
Chios or within it. And when we asked the
god for a sign, he showed us that we should go
straight across the sea to Euboea. Then there
arose a shrill wind, and the ships ran swiftly
before it. On the fourth day Diomed moored
his ships in Argos; and I still sailed for Pylos,
nor did the wind fail me till I came. So it is
that I know not of my own knowledge which
of the Greeks was saved and which was lost.
But what I have heard, sitting here in my hall,
thou shalt know, and I will hide nothing from
thee. The Myrmidons, the people of Achilles,
came safe, and safe Philoctetes, and safe Idom-
eneus, with all them that the war had not
devoured. But of the son of Atreus ye have
heard yourselves how AEgisthus slew him in
his hall, and paid a dreadful penalty therefore.
Verily, it is a good thing that a son of a dead
man should be left to take vengeance for him.
Only do thou, as thou art tall and comely, so
be valiant also."
Then said Telemachus: "Orestes avenged
his father, and gained great glory thereby.
Would that the gods might give me the like
strength, that I might take vengeance on the
suitors, who work me such ill! "
Nestor spake: Tell me, dost thou willingly
submit to this oppression ? or do the people of
the land hate thee ? Haply Ulysses himself
may come and requite them for their wicked-
ness. Yea, and if Athene cared for thee, as
she cared for him never did I see a god show
28 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
such love to a man as did Athene to him -
then might some of these men forget their
thoughts of marriage."
But Telemachus answered, "Scarcely can
this be accomplished, old man; no, not even if
the gods so willed it."
Thereupon Athene spake, saying: What
word is this that thou hast said, Telemachus?
A god might bring a man back, even from far,
did he will it so. But death, which is the
common lot of all, the gods themselves cannot
Then Telemachus spake again: Talk no
more of these things, Mentor. I would now ask
Nestor of another matter. Tell me now, son
of Neleus, how died King Agamemnon ? Where
was Menelaiis ? Was he not in Argos, that
/Egisthus took heart and slew his brother ? "
Nestor made answer: I will tell thee the
whole truth. While we were besieging Troy,
AEgisthus, sitting in peace in Argos, tempted
the wife of Agamemnon, the fair Clytemnestra,
to sin. At the first she scorned him, for she
was wise of heart. Also there was a certain
minstrel to whom the King, when he de-
parted from his home, gave the charge of his
wife. But him /Egisthus carried to a lonely
island, and left him there to be the prey of the
birds. After that he persuaded the wife of the
King. Many sacrifices did he offer, and many
gifts did he give to the gods, if haply he might
appease their wrath. Now, as for Menelaius,
he and I sailed together from Troy. But when
we came to Sunium, which is the headland of
Athens, Apollo slew the pilot of the King with
his painless shafts. And the King was holden
there, for all that he was eager to go, that he
might pay due burial honours to his friend.
But when he sailed, then great waves rose
against his ships, and the fleet was divided.
Part was brought near to Crete, and there the
ships perished on a great headland that there
is looking towards the southwest wind, and the
men hardly escaped. But Menelais himself
was driven to Egypt with five ships. There
he wandered long among men of alien speech,
and gathered for himself much gold. While
he was there, even for seven years, /Egisthus
30 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
bare rule in Mycenae, and the people were sub-
dued unto him. But in the eighth year the
goodly Orestes came from Athens and slew
him, avenging his father. On that self-same
day came Menelaius home from Egypt, bring-
ing much treasure in his ships. But wander
not thou, my son, far from home, while
strangers devour thy substance. Rather go to
Menelails, for he hath but lately come back
from a far country; go and ask him to tell thee
all that he knoweth. If thou wilt, go with thy
ships, or, if it please thee better, I will send
thee with a chariot and horses, and my sons
shall be thy guides."
So he spake, and the sun went down.
Then said Athene: "Let us cut up the
tongues of the beasts, and mix the wine, and
make libation to Poseidon and the other gods,
and so bethink us of sleep, for it is the time.
It is not seemly to sit long at a banquet of the
gods, when the sun hath set."
So she spake, and they hearkened to her
words. And when they had finished, Athene
and Telemachus would have gone back to
their ship. But Nestor stayed them, saying:
"Now Zeus and all the gods forbid that ye
should depart to your ships from my house, as
though it were the dwelling of a needy man
that hath not rugs and blankets in his house,
whereon his guests may sleep! Not so; I have
rugs and blankets enough. Never shall the
son of my friend Ulysses lay him down on his
ship's deck, while I am alive, or my children
after me, to entertain strangers in my hall."
Thereupon said the false Mentor: This is
good, dear father. Let Telemachus abide
with thee; but I will go back to the ship,
and cheer the company, and tell them all.
There I will sleep this night, and to-morrow
I go to the Cauconians, where there is owing
to me a debt neither small nor of yesterday.
But do thou send this man on his way in thy
Then the goddess departed in the semblance
of a sea-eagle, and all that saw it were amazed.
Then the old man took Telemachus by the
hand, and said: No coward or weakling art
thou like to be, whom the gods attend even
32 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
now in thy youth. This is none other than
Athene, daughter of Zeus, the same that stood
by thy father in the land of Troy."
After this the old man led the company to
his house. Here he mixed for them a bowl
of wine eleven years old; and they made liba-
tions and prayed to Athene; and when they
had drunk to their hearts' content they lay
down to sleep. Telemachus slept on a bed-
stead beneath the gallery, and Peisistratus, who
alone of Nestor's sons was unwedded, slept by
The next day, as soon as it was morning,
Nestor arose and his sons. And the old man
said: "Let one man go to the plain for a
heifer, and let another go to the ship of Telem-
achus, and bid all the company come hither,
leaving two only behind. And a third shall
command the goldsmith that he gild the horns
of the heifer, and let the handmaids prepare all
things for a feast."
They did as the old man commanded; and
after the sacrifice the fair Polycast6, that was
Nestor's youngest daughter, gave Telemachus
the bath, and anointed him with olive oil, and
arrayed him in a goodly mantle and tunic.
Then he sat him down by Nestor's side.
When they had eaten and drunk, old Nestor
said, Put now the horses in the chariot that
Telemachus may go his way."
So they yoked the horses, and the dame that
kept the stores put into the chariot food and
wine and dainties, such as princes eat. And
Peisistratus took the reins, and Telemachus
rode with him. And all that day they jour-
neyed; and when the land grew dark they
came to the city of Phera, where Diodes,
son of Orsilochus, was King, and there they
rested; and the next day, travelling again,
came to Lacedemon, to the palace of King
34 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
Now it chanced that Menelaiis had made a
great feast that day, for his daughter Hermione,
the child of the fair Helen, was married to Ne-
optolemus, the son of Achilles, to whom she
had been promised at Troy; and he had also
taken a wife for his son Megapenthes. And
the two wayfarers stayed their chariot at the
door, and the steward spied them, and said to
Lo! here are two strangers who are like
the children of kings. Shall we keep them
here, or send them to another? "
But Menelaiis was wroth, and said: Shall
we, who have eaten so often of the bread of
hospitality, send these strangers to another?
Nay, but unyoke their horses and bid them
sit down to meat."
So the squires loosed the horses from the
yoke, and fastened them in the stall, and gave
them spelt to eat and white barley mixed with
it, and led the men into the hall. Much did
they marvel at the sight, for there was a gleam
as of the sun or moon in the palace of Mene-
laiis. And when they had gazed their fill,
they bathed them in the polished baths. After
that they sat them down by the side of Mene-
laiis. Then a handmaid bare water in an ewer
of gold, and poured it over a basin of silver
that they might wash their hands. Afterwards
she drew a polished table to their side, and a
dame of reverend look brought food, and set it
by them, laying many dainties on the board,
and a carver placed by them platters of divers
kinds of flesh, and set near them golden bowls.
Then said Menelaiis: "Eat and be glad;
afterwards I will ask you who ye are, for ye
seem like to the sons of kings. No churls
could have such children as ye are."
So spake he, and set before them the chine,
which was his own portion of the feast; and
when they had ended the meal, Telemachus,
looking round at the hall, said to his com-
panion : -
36 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
See the gold and the amber, and the silver
and the ivory. This is as the hall of Olympian
This he spake with his face close to his
comrade's ear, but Menelais heard him and
With the halls of the gods nothing mortal
may compare. And among men also there
may be the match of these things. Yet I
have wandered far, and got many possessions
in many lands. But woe is me! while I gath-
ered these things my brother was foully slain
in his house. Would that I had but the third
part of this wealth of mine, so that they
who perished at Troy were alive again! And
most of all I mourn for the great Ulysses,
for whether he be alive or dead no man
But Telemachus wept to hear mention of his
father, holding up his purple cloak before his
eyes. This Menelaus saw, and knew him who
he was, and pondered whether he should wait
till he should himself speak of his father, or
should rather ask him of his errand. But
while he pondered there came in the fair
Helen, and three maidens with her, of whom
one set a couch for her to sit, and one spread a
carpet for her feet, and one bare a basket of
purple wool; but she herself had a distaff of
gold in her hand. And when she saw the
strangers she said:-
"Who are these, Menelaiis? Never have I
seen such likeness in man or woman as this
one bears to Ulysses. Surely' tis his son Telem-
achus, whom he left an infant at home when
ye went to Troy for my sake!"
Then said Menelaiis: It must indeed be so,
lady. For these are the hands and feet of
Ulysses, and the look of his eyes and his hair.
And but now, when I made mention of his
name, he wept, holding his mantle before his
Then said Peisistratus: King Menelaiis,
thou speakest truth. This is indeed the
son of Ulysses, who is come to thee, if haply
thou canst help him by word or deed."
And Menelaiis answered: "Then is he the
son of a man whom I loved right well. I
38 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
thought to give him a city in this land, bring-
ing him from Ithaca with all his goods. Then
might we often have companies together, nor
should aught have divided us but death itself.
But these things the gods have ordered other-
At these words they all wept-the fair
Helen and Telemachus and Menalaius; nor
could Peisistratus refrain himself, for he
thought of his dear brother Antilochus, whom
Memnon, son of the Morning, slew at
Thus thinking, he spake to Menelaiis, say-
ing, Son of Atreus, Nestor hath ever said of
thee that thou art wise beyond all other men.
Yet I would have thee listen to me, for I for
one have no pleasure in weeping when we sit
at supper time. I blame not indeed these who
weep for him that hath died. This, indeed, is
all the due that we can pay to the dead, to
cut the hair and to weep. And I too have a
brother dead, not the meanest of the Greeks,
whom thou must have known. I never, in-
deed, beheld him, but men say that Antilochus
was excellent in speed of foot and in the
To him Menelaiis made reply: Thou hast
said all that a wise man might say; yea,
though he were older than thou. Fitting it is
that thou shouldest speak wisely, being sprung
from such a sire. But now will we cease from
weeping; and to-morrow there is much that
Telemachus and I must say one to the other."
Then the fair Helen put a mighty medicine
in the wine whereof they drank -nepenthe
men call it. So mighty is it that whosoever
drinks of it, that day he weeps not, though
father and mother die, and though men slay
brother or son before his eyes. Polydamna,
wife of King Thoas, had given it to her in
Egypt, where, indeed, many medicines grow
that are mighty both for good and ill."
And after this she said: It were long to
tell all the wise and valiant deeds of Ulysses.
One thing, however, ye shall hear, and it is
this: while the Greeks were before Troy he
came into the city, having disguised himself
as a beggar-man, yea, and he had laid many
40 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
blows upon himself, so that he seemed to have
been shamefully entreated. I only knew him
who he was, and questioned him, but he an-
swered craftily. And afterwards, when I had
bathed him and anointed him with oil, I swore
that I would not tell the thing till he had gone
back to the camp. So he slew many Trojans
with the sword, and learnt many things. And
while other women in Troy lamented, I was
glad, for my heart was turned again to my
Then Menelaus said: Thou speakest truly,
lady. Many men have I seen, and travelled
over many lands, but never have I seen one
who might be matched with Ulysses. Well
do I remember how, when I and other chiefs
of the Greeks sat in the horse of wood, thou
didst come, DeYphobus following thee. Some
god who loved the sons of Troy put the thing
into thy heart. Thrice didst thou walk round
our hiding-place and call by name to each one
of the chiefs, likening thy voice in marvellous
fashion to the voice of his wife. Then would
Diomed and I have either risen from our place
IN SPARTA. 41
or answered thee straightway. But Ulysses
hindered us, so saving all the Greeks."
But Telemachus said: Yet all these things
have not kept him, but that he has perished."
And after that they slept.
42 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
THE next day Menelaiis said to Telemachus:
" For what end hast thou come hither to fair
Lacedaemon? Is it on some matter of the
common weal, or on business of thine own ? "
Then Telemachus said: I have come, if
haply thou canst tell me aught of my father.
For certain suitors of my mother devour my
goods, nor do I see any help. Tell me, there
fore, true, sparing me not at all, but saying if
thou knowest anything of thyself, or hast
heard it from another? "
And Menelaiis answered: It angers me to
hear of these cowards who would lie in a brave
man's bed. So a hind lays its young in a
lion's den, but when he comes he slays both
her and them. So shall it be with these in the
day when Ulysses shall come back. But as to
what thou askest me, I will answer clearly and
without turning aside.
In the river IEgyptus I was stayed long
time, though I was eager to get me home; the
gods stayed me, for I had not offered to them
due sacrifice. Now there is an island in the
wash of the waves over against the land of
Egypt-men call it Pharos, and it is distant
one day's voyage for a ship, if the wind blow.
eth fair in her wake. Here did the gods keep
me twenty days, nor did the sea winds ever
blow. Then had all my corn been spent, and
the lives also of my men, but that the daughter
of Proteus had pity on me. Her heart was
moved to see me when I wandered alone, apart
from my company, for they all roamed about
the island, fishing with hooks because hunger
gnawed them. So she stood by me and spake,
saying: 'Art thou foolish, stranger, and feeble
of wit, or dost thou sit still for thine own
pleasure, because it is sweet to thee to suffer?
Verily, thou stayest long in this place, and
canst find no escape, while the heart of thy
people faileth within them.' Then I an-
swered: I will tell thee the truth, whosoever
thou art. It is not my own will that holdeth
44 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
me here; I must needs have sinned against
the gods. Tell me now which of the gods
have I offended, and how shall I contrive to
return to my own home?' So I spake, and
straightway the goddess made answer: 'I will
tell thee all. To this place resorteth Proteus,
who knoweth the depths of all the sea. My
father is he. If thou couldst lay an ambush
for him and catch him, he will declare to thee
thy way, how thou mayest return across the
deep. Also he will show thee what good and
what evil have happened within thy halls while
thou hast been wandering far away.' So she
spake, and I made reply, Devise thyself this
ambush, lest by any chance he see me first
and avoid me, for it is hard for a man to over-
come a god.' Then said the goddess: 'When
the sun in his course hath reached the mid-
heaven, then cometh the old man from the
sea; before the breath of the west wind he
cometh, and the ripple covereth him. And
when he is come out of the sea, he lieth down
in the caves to sleep, and all about him lie the
seals, the brood of ocean, and bitter is the
smell of the salt water that they breathe.
Thither will I lead thee at break of day, thee
and three of thy companions. Choose them
from thy ships, the bravest that thou hast.
And now I will tell thee the old man's art.
First, he will count the seals, and when he has
told the tale of them, he will lie down in the
midst, as a shepherd in the midst of his flock.
Now, so soon as ye shall see him thus laid
down, then remember your courage, and hold
him there, for all that he shall strive to be free.
For he will take all manner of shapes of creat-
ures that creep upon the earth, and of water
likewise, and of burning fire. But do ye grasp
him fast, and press him hard, and when he
shall question thee, returning to his proper
shape, then let him go free, and ask him which
of the gods is angry with thee, and how thou
mayest return across the deep.' Thereupon
she dived beneath the sea, and I betook me to
the ships; but I was sorely troubled in heart.
The next morning I took three of my com-
rades, in whom I trusted most, and lo! she
had brought from the sea the skins of four
46 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
sea-calves, which she had newly flayed, for she
was minded to lay a snare for her father. She
scooped hiding-places for us in the sand, and
made us lie down therein, and cast the skin of
a sea-calf over each of us. It would have been
a grievous ambush, for the stench of the skins
had distressed us sore, who, indeed, would
lay him down by a beast of the sea ? but she
wrought a deliverance for us. She took am-
brosia, very sweet, and put it under each man's
nostrils, that it might do away with the stench
of the beast.
So all the morning we waited with steadfast
hearts. And the seals came forth from the
brine, and ranged them in order upon the
shore. And at noon the old man came forth
out of the sea, and went along the line of the
sea-beasts, and counted them. Us, too, he
counted among them, and perceived not our
device; and after that he laid him down to
sleep. Then we rushed upon him with a cry,
and held him fast; nor did he forget his cun-
ning, for he became a bearded lion, and a
snake, and a pard, and a great wild boar.
Also he took the shape of running water,
and of a flowering tree. And all the while
we held him fast. When at last he was
weary, he said, 'Which of the gods, son of
Atreus, bade thee thus waylay me?' But I
answered him: 'Wherefore dost thou beguile
me, old man, with crooked words? I am
holden in this isle, and can find no escape
therefrom. Tell me now which of the gods
hindereth me, and how I may return across
the sea?' The old man made reply:' Thou
shouldest have done sacrifice to Zeus and the
other gods before embarking, if thou wouldst
have reached thy native country with speed.
But now thou must go again to the river
iEgyptus, and make offerings to the gods;
so shall they grant that which thou desirest.'
Then was my spirit broken within me, when I
heard that I must traverse again this weary
way, but I said: 'Old man, I will do all thy
bidding. But tell me now, I pray thee, did
the other Greeks, whom Nestor and I left be-
hind us in Troy, return safe to their homes, or
perished any by an evil death on board of his
48 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
ship or among his friends?' To this the old
man made reply: Thou doest ill to ask such
things, for thou wilt weep to hear them. Two
only of the chiefs perished in returning; as for
the others, thou knowest what befell. The ship
of the Lesser Ajax was smitten; yet might he
have escaped, though Athene hated him, for
by the help of Poseidon he reached the rocks.
But there he spake, in the blindness of his
heart, high words of pride, saying that in de-
spite of the gods he had escaped the devouring
sea. Then did Poseidon smite with his trident
the rock whereon he sat, and the one part fell
into the sea, carrying Ajax with it; so he per-
ished, drinking the brine. Thy brother indeed
escaped from the fates of the sea, for Hera
saved him; but the storm-wind carried him
to the land where iEgisthus, son of Thyestes,
dwelt. But when Agamemnon set foot upon
his native land, he kissed it, weeping hot tears,
so glad was he to see it again. But the watch-
man spied him from his tower, even the watch-
man whom the crafty /Egisthus had hired with
two talents of gold. For the space of two years
had he watched, lest Agamemnon should pass
by him unawares. So now he went to the
house of ZEgisthus, bearing the news. And
/Egisthus contrived a crafty treason. He set
an ambush in the hall, twenty of the bravest of
the place, and in the further side of the hall he
bade them make ready a feast; then he went
with chariots and horses to bid Agamemnon
to the feast; to his house he brought him,
knowing nothing of his doom. And after the
feast he slew him, as one slayeth an ox at the
stall. Not one of the company of Agamemnon
was left, and of the company of YEgisthus not
one.' Then I wept sore, caring nothing to live
any more. But the old man said: 'Weep not,
son of Atreus, for there is no help in tears.
Rather make haste to return, for either thou
shalt find /Egisthus yet alive, or haply Orestes
may have slain him, and thou shalt come in
time for his funeral feast.' So he spake, and
my heart was comforted within me, and I said:
'Their fate I know; but there is yet another
of whom I would fain hear. Is he yet alive,
wandering on the deep, or is he dead ? Speak,
50 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
though it grieve me to hear.' Straightway the
old man answered: It is the son of Laertes of
whom thou speakest. Him I saw in an island,
even in the dwelling of Calypso; and he was
shedding great tears, because the nymph keeps
him there perforce, so that he may not come
to his own country, for he hath neither ship
nor comrades. But thou, MenelaiUs, wilt not
die as other men. The gods will take thee to
the Elysian plain, that is at the world's end
No snow is there, nor storm, nor any rain, but
the ocean ever sendeth forth the west wind to
breathe cool on men. Thus shall it be with
thee, because thou hast Helen to wife, and so
art as the son of Zeus.' So spake Proteus, and
plunged into the sea. The next day we went
back to the river /Egyptus, the stream that is
fed from heaven, and offered sacrifice to the
gods. And when I had appeased their anger,
I made a great barrow to Agamemnon, my
brother, that his name might not be forgot-
ten among men. And when these things had
been duly performed, I set sail, and came back
to my own country, for the gods gave me a fair
wind. But do thou tarry now in my halls.
And when thou art minded to go, I will give
thee a chariot and three horses with it, and a
goodly cup also, from which thou mayest pour
libations to the gods; but do thou remember
me all the days of thy life."
To him Telemachus made reply: Keep
me not long, son of Atreus, for my company
wait for me in Pylos, though indeed I would
be content to stay with thee for a whole year,
nor would any longing for my home come over
me. And let any gift thou givest me be a
thing for me to treasure. But I will take no
horses to Ithaca. Rather let them stay here
and grace thy home, for thou art lord of a wide
plain where there is wheat and rye and barley.
But in Ithaca there is no meadow land. It is
a pasture land of goats, yet verily it is more
pleasant to my eyes than if it were a fit feeding-
place for horses."
Then said Menelaiis : Thou speakest well,
as becometh the son of thy father. Come, now,
I will change the gifts. Of all the treasures in
my house, I will give thee the goodliest, espec-
52 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
ially a bowl which the King of the Sidonians
gave me. Of silver it is, and the lips are
finished with gold."
Now it had been made known meanwhile to
the suitors in Ithaca that Telemachus was gone
upon this journey seeking his father, and the
thing displeased them much. And after that
they had held counsel about the matter, it
seemed best that they should lay an ambush
against him which should slay him as he came
back to his home. So Antinoiis took twenty
men and departed, purposing to lie in wait in
the strait between Ithaca and Samos.
Nor was this counsel unknown to Penelope,
for the herald Medon had heard it, and he
told her how that Telemachus had gone seek-
ing news of his father, and how the suitors pur-
posed to slay him as he returned. And she
called her women, old and young, and rebuked
them, saying: Wicked that ye were, that knew
that he was about to go, and did not rouse me
from my bed. Surely I had kept him, eager
though he was, from his journey, or he had left
me dead behind him! "
Then said Eurycleia: Slay me, if thou wilt,
but I will hide nothing from thee. I knew his
purpose, and I furnished him with such things
as he needed. But he made me swear that I
would not tell thee till the eleventh or the
twelfth day was come. But go with thy maid-
ens and make thy prayer to Athene that she will
save him from death; and indeed I think that
this house is not altogether hated by the gods."
Then Penelope, having duly prepared her-
self, went with her maidens to the upper
chamber, and prayed aloud to Athene that
she would save her son. And the suitors
heard her praying, and said, Surely the
Queen prays, thinking of her marriage, nor
knows that death is near to her son."
Then she lay down to sleep, and had neither
eaten nor drunk. And while she slept Athene
sent her a dream in the likeness of her sister
Iphthime, who was the wife of Eumelus, son of
Alcestis. And the vision stood over her head
and spake: "Sleepest thou, Penelope? The
gods would not have thee grieve, for thy son
shall surely return."
54 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
And Penelope said: How camest thou
here, my sister? For thy dwelling is far away.
And how can I cease to weep when my hus-
band is lost? And now my son is gone, and
1 am sore afraid for him, lest his enemies slay
But the vision answered: Fear not at all;
for there is a mighty helper with him, even
Athene, who hath bid me tell thee these
Then Penelope said: "If thou art a god-
dess, tell me this. Is my husband yet alive? "
But the vision answered, That I cannot
say, whether he be alive or dead." And so
saying, it vanished into air.
And Penelope woke from her sleep, and her
heart was comforted.
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
AGAIN the gods sate in council on high
Olympus, and Athene spake among them,
saying: Now let no king be minded to do
righteously, for see how there is no man that
remembereth Ulysses, who was as a father to
his people. And he lieth far off, fast bound
in Calypso's isle, and hath no ship to take him
to his own country. Also the suitors are set
upon slaying his son, who is gone to Pylos
and to Lacedzemon, that he may get tidings of
To her Zeus made answer: "What is this
that thou sayest? Didst not thou thyself plan
this device that the vengeance of Ulysses
might be wrought upon the suitors? As for
Telemachus, do thou guide him by thy art, as
well thou mayest, so that he may come to his
own land unharmed, and the suitors may have
their labour in vain."
56 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
Also he said to Hermes: Hermes, go to
the nymph Calypso, and tell her my sure pur-
pose that Ulysses shall now come back to his
So Hermes put on his golden sandals, and
took his wand in his hand, and came to the
island of Ogygia, and to the cave where Ca-
lypso dwelt. A fair place it was. In the cave
was burning a fire of sweet-smelling wood, and
Calypso sat at her loom, and sang with a lovely
voice. And round about the cave was a grove
of alders and poplars and cypresses, wherein
many birds, falcons and owls and sea-crows,
were wont to roost; and all about the mouth
of the cave was a vine with purple clusters of
grapes; and there were four fountains which
streamed four ways through meadows of pars-
ley and violet. -Very fair was the place, so
that even a god might marvel at it, and Hermes
stood and marvelled. Then went he into the
cave, and Calypso knew him when she saw
him face to face, for the gods know each other,
even though their dwellings be far apart. But
Ulysses was not there, for he sat, as was his
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
wont, on the seashore, weeping and groaning,
because he might not see wife and home and
Then Calypso said to Hermes: Wherefore
hast thou come hither, Hermes of the golden
wand? Welcome thou art, but thou hast not
been used to visit me of old time? Tell me
all thy thought, that I may fulfil it if I may,
but first follow me, that I may set food before
So she spread az table with ambrosia, and set
it by him, and mixed the ruddy nectar for him,
and the messenger ate and drank. So, when
he had comforted his soul with food, he spake,
Thou questionest of my coming, and I will
tell thee the truth. It is by no wish of mine
own that I come, for who would of his free
will pass over a sea so wide, wherein is no city
of men that do sacrifice to the gods ? Zeus bade
me come, and none may go against the com-
mands of Zeus. He saith that thou hast with
thee a man more wretched than all his fellows,
as many as fought against Troy for nine years
58 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
and in the tenth year departed homeward. All
the rest of his company were lost, but him the
waves carried thither. Now, therefore, send
him home with what speed thou mayest; for it
is not fated that he should die away from his
friends. Rather shall he see again the high
roof of his home and his native country."
It vexed Calypso much to hear this, for she
would fain have kept Ulysses with her always,
and she said:-
Ye gods are always jealous when a goddess
loves a mortal man. And as for Ulysses, did
not I save him when Zeus had smitten his ship
with a thunderbolt, and all his comrades had
perished ? And now let him go if it pleases
Zeus. Only I cannot send him, for I have
neither ship nor rowers. Yet will I willingly
teach him how he may safely return."
And Hermes said, Do this thing speedily,
lest Zeus be wroth with thee."
So he departed. And Calypso went seeking
Ulysses, and found him on the shore of the sea,
looking out over the waters, as was his wont,
and weeping, for he was weary of his life, so
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
much did he desire to see Ithaca again. She
stood by him and said: -
Weary not for thy native country, nor waste
thyself with tears. If thou wilt go, I will speed
thee on thy way. Take, therefore, thine axe
and cut thee beams, and join them together,
and make a deck upon them, and I will give
thee bread and water and wine, and clothe thee
also, so that thou mayest return safe to thy
native country, for the gods will have it so."
Nay," said Ulysses, what is this that thou
sayest ? Shall I pass in a raft over the dread-
ful sea, over which even ships go not without
harm ? I will not go against thy will; but thou
must swear the great oath of the gods that thou
plannest no evil against me."
Then Calypso smiled and said: These are
strange words. By the Styx I swear that I
plan no harm against thee, but only such good
as I would ask myself, did I need it; for indeed
my heart is not of iron, but rather full of com-
Then they two went to the cave and sat
down to meat, and she set before him food
60 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
such as mortal men eat, but she herself ate
ambrosia and drank nectar, as the gods are
wont. And afterwards she said:-
"Why art thou so eager for thy home?
Surely if thou knewest all the trouble that
awaits thee, thou wouldst not go, but wouldst
rather dwell with me. And though thou desir-
est all the day long to see thy wife, surely I am
not less fair than she."
Be not angry," Ulysses made reply. The
wise Penelope cannot, indeed, be compared to
thee, for she is a mortal woman and thou art a
goddess. Yet is my home dear to me, and I
would fain see it again. Yea, and if some god
should wreck me on the deep, yet would I
endure it with patient heart. Already have I
suffered much, and toiled much in perils of war
and perils of the sea. And as to what is yet to
come, let it be added to the tale of what hath
The next day Calypso gave him an axe with
a handle of olive wood, and an adze, and took
him to the end of the island, where there were
great trees, long ago sapless and dry, alder and
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
poplar and pine. Of these he felled twenty,
and lopped them and worked them by the line.
Then the goddess brought him a gimlet, and he
made holes in the logs and joined them with
pegs. And he made decks and side planking
also; also a mast and a yard, and a rudder
wherewith to turn the raft. And he fenced it
about with a bulwark of osier against the waves.
The sails, indeed, Calypso wove, and Ulysses
fitted them with braces and halyards and sheets.
Last of all he pushed the raft down to the sea
On the fourth day all was finished, and on
the fifth day he departed. And Calypso gave
him goodly garments, and a skin of wine, and a
skin of water, and rich provender in a wallet of
leather. She sent also a fair wind blowing be-
hind, and Ulysses set his sails and proceeded
joyfully on his way; nor did he sleep, but
watched the stars, the Pleiades and Boates, and
the Bear, which men also call the Wain, which
turneth ever in one place, watching Orion.
For Calypso had said to him, Keep the Bear
ever on thy left as thou passes over the sea."
62 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
Seventeen days he sailed; and on the eigh-
teenth day appeared the shadowy hills of the
island of the Phoeacians, where it was nearest
to him; and the island showed, as a shield
might show, through the mist of the sea.
But now Poseidon, coming back from feast-
ing with the Ethiopians, spied him as he sailed,
and it angered him to the heart. He shook
his head, and spake to himself, saying: "Verily,
the gods must have changed their purpose con-
cerning Ulysses while I was absent among the
Ethiopians; and now he is nigh to the island
of the Ph.aeacians, which if he reach, it is or-
dained that he shall escape from his woes. Yet
even now I will send him far enough on a way
Thereupon he gathered the clouds, and
troubled the waters of the deep, holding his tri-
dent in his hand. And he raised a storm of
all the winds that blow, and covered the land
and the sea with clouds.
Sore troubled was Ulysses, and said to him-
self: It was truth that Calypso spake when
she said how that I should suffer many
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
troubles returning to my home. Would that I
had died that day when many a spear was cast
by the men of Troy over the dead Achilles.
Then would the Greeks have buried me; but
now shall I perish miserably."
And as he spake a great wave struck the
raft and tossed him far away, so that he
dropped the rudder from his hand Nor for
a long time could he rise, so deep was he sunk,
and so heavy was the goodly clothing which
Calypso had given him. Yet at the last he
rose, and spat the salt water out of his mouth,
and, so brave was he, sprang at the raft, and
caught it, and sat thereon, and was borne
hither and thither by the waves. But Ino saw
him and pitied him a woman she had been,
and was now a goddess of the sea and rose
from the deep like to a sea-gull upon the wing,
and sat upon the raft, and spake, saying:-
Luckless mortal, why doth Poseidon hate
thee so? He shall not slay thee, though he
fain would do it. Put off these garments, and
swim to the land of Phaacia, putting this veil
under thy breast. And when thou art come
64 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
to the land, loose it from thee, and cast it
into the sea; but when thou castest it, look
Then the goddess gave him the veil, and
dived again into the deep as a sea-gull diveth
and the waves closed over her. Then Ulysses
pondered the matter, saying to himself: "Woe
is me! can it be that another of the gods is
contriving a snare for me, bidding me leave
my raft? Verily, I will not yet obey her coun-
sel, for the land, when I saw it, seemed a long
way off. I am resolved what to do; so long
as the raft will hold together, so long will I
abide on it; but when the waves shall break
it asunder, then will I swim, for nothing better
may be done."
But while he thought thus within himself,
Poseidon sent another great wave against the
raft. As a stormy wind scattereth a heap of
husks, so did the wave scatter the timbers of
the raft. But Ulysses sat astride on a beam,
as a man sitteth astride of a horse; and he
stripped off from him the goodly garments
which Calypso had given him, and put the veil
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
under his breast, and so leapt into the sea,
stretching out his hands to swim.
And Poseidon, when he saw him, shook his
head, and communed with his soul, saying:
" Even so, after all that thou hast suffered, go
wandering over the deep, till thou come to the
land. Thou wilt not say that thou hast not
had trouble enough."
But Athene, binding up the other winds,
roused the swift north wind that so Ulysses
might escape from death.
So for two days and two nights he swam. But
on the third day there was a calm, and he saw
the land from the top of a great wave, for the
waves were yet high, close at hand. Dear as
a father to his children, rising up from griev-
ous sickness, so dear was the land to Ulysses.
But when he came near he heard the waves
breaking along the shore, for there was no har-
bour there, but only cliffs and rugged rocks.
Then at last the knees of Ulysses were
loosened with fear, and his heart was melted
within him, and in heaviness of spirit he spake
to himself: "Woe is me! for now, when be-
66 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
yond all hope, Zeus hath given me the sight
of land, there is no place where I may win to
shore from out of the sea. For the crags are
sharp, and the waves roar about them, and the
smooth rock riseth sheer from the sea, and
the water is deep, so that I may gain no foot-
hold. If I should seek to land, then a great
wave may dash me on the rocks. And if I
swim along the shore, if haply I may find some
harbour, I fear lest the winds may catch me
again and bear me out into the deep; or it
may be that some god may send a monster of
the sea against me; and verily there are many
such in the sea-pastures, and I know that
Poseidon is very wroth against me."
While he pondered these things in his heart
a great wave bare him to the rocks. Then
had his skin been stripped from him and all
his bones broken, but that Athene put a
thought into his heart. For he rushed in
towards the shore, and clutched the rock with
both his hands, and clung thereto till the wave
had passed. But as it ebbed back, it caught
him, and carried him again into the deep.
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT.
Even as a cuttle-fish is dragged from out its
hole in the rock, so was he dragged by the
water, and the skin was stripped from his hand
against the rocks. Then had Ulysses perished,
even against the ordinance of fate, had not
Athene put a counsel in his heart. He swam
outside the breakers, and so along the shore,
looking for a place where the waves might be
broken, or there should be a harbour. At last
he came to where a river ran into the sea.
Free was the place of rocks, and sheltered
from the wind, and Ulysses felt the stream of
the river as he ran. Then he prayed to the
Hear me, O King, whosoever thou art. I
am come to thee a suppliant, fleeing from the
wrath of Poseidon. Save me, O King."
Thereupon the river stayed his stream, and
made the water smooth before Ulysses, so that
at last he won his way to the land. His knees
were bent under him, and his hands dropped
at his side, and the salt water ran out his
mouth and nostrils. Breathless was he, and
speechless; but when he came to himself, he
68 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
loosed the veil from under his breast, and cast
it into the salt stream of the river, and the
stream bare it to the sea, and Ino came up
and caught it in her hands.
Then he lay down on the rushes by the
bank of the river and kissed the earth, think-
ing within himself: "What now shall I do?
for if I sleep here by the river, I fear that the
dew and the frost may slay me; for indeed in
the morning-time the wind from the river
blows cold. And if I go up to the wood, to
lay me down to sleep in the thicket, I fear that
some evil beast may devour me."
But it seemed better to go to the wood. So
he went. Now this was close to the river, and
he found two bushes, of wild olive one, and of
fruitful olive the other. So thickly grown
together were they that the winds blew not
through them, nor did the sun pierce them,
nor yet the rain. Thereunder crept Ulysses,
and found great store of leaves, shelter enough
for two or three, even in winter time, when
the rain is heavy. Then did Ulysses rejoice,
laying himself in the midst, and covering him-
ULYSSES ON HIS RAFT. 69
self with leaves. Thus, even as a man who
dwells apart from others cherishes his fire,
hiding it under the ashes, so Ulysses cherished
his life under the leaves. And Athene sent
down upon his eyelids deep sleep, that might
ease him of his toil.
70 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
MEANWHILE Athene went to the city of
Phaeacians, to the palace of Alcinotis, their
King. There she betook her to the chamber
where slept Nausicaa, daughter of the King,
a maiden fair as are the gods. The goddess
stood above the maiden, in the semblance of
the daughter of Dymas (now Dymas was a
famous rover of the sea), a girl that was of like
age with her, and had found favour in her
Athene spake, saying: "Why hath thy
mother so careless a child, Nausicaa? Lo!
thy raiment lieth unwashed, and yet the day
of thy marriage is at hand, when thou must
have fair clothing for thyself, and to give to
them that shall lead thee to thy bridegroom's
house; for thus doth a bride win good repute.
Do thou therefore arise with the day, and go
to wash the raiment, and I will go with thee.
Ask thy father betimes in the morning to give
thee mules and a wagon to carry the raiment
and the robes. Also it is more becoming for
thee to ride than to go on foot, for the laun-
dries are far from the city."
And when the morning was come, Nausicaa
awoke, marvelling at the dream, and went
seeking her parents. Her mother she found
busy with her maidens at the loom, spinning
yarn dyed with purple of the sea, and her
father she met as he was going to the council
with the chiefs of the land. Then she said:
"Give me, father, the wagon with the mules,
that I may take the garments to the river to
wash them. Thou shouldest always have
clean robes when thou goest to the council;
and there are my five brothers also, who
love to have newly washed garments at the
But of her own marriage she said nothing.
And her father, knowing her thoughts, said:
"I grudge thee not, dear child, the mules or
aught else. The men shall harness for thee a
72 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
wagon with strong wheels and fitted also with
Then he called to the men, and they made
ready the wagon, and harnessed the mules;
and the maiden brought the raiment out of her
chamber, and put it in the wagon. Also her
mother filled a basket with all manner of food,
and poured wine in a goat-skin bottle. Olive
oil also she gave her, that Nausicaa and her
maidens might anoint themselves after the
bath. And Nausicaa took the reins, and
touched the mules with the whip. Then was
there a clatter of hoofs, and the mules went on
with their load, nor did they grow weary.
When they came to the river, where was
water enough for the washing of raiment
though it were ever so foul, the maidens loosed
the mules from the chariot, and set them free
to graze in the sweet clover by the river-bank.
Then they took the raiment from the wagon,
and bare it to the river, and trod it in the
trenches, vying one with the other. And
when they had cleansed away all the stains,
then they laid the garments on the shore of
the sea, where the waves had washed the peb-
bles clean. After that they bathed, and
anointed themselves; and then they sat down
to eat and drink by the river-side; and after
the meal they played at ball, singing as they
played, and Nausicaa led the song. Fair was
she as Artemis when she hunts wild goats or
stags, overtopping all the nymphs that bear
her company. Fair are all, but she is fairer,
and Latona, her mother, is glad at heart. So
was Nausicaa fairer than all the maidens.
And when they had ended their play, and were
yoking the mules, and folding up the raiment,
then Athene contrived this thing, that the
princess, throwing the ball to one of her
maidens, cast it so wide that it fell into the
rivir. Whereupon they all cried aloud, and
Ulysses awoke. And he said to himself:
"What is this land to which I have come?
Are they that dwell therein fierce or kind to
strangers? Just now I seemed to hear the
voice of nymphs, or am I near the dwellings of
men ? "
Then he twisted a leafy bough about his
74 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
loins, and rose up and went towards the
maidens, who indeed were frighted to see him
(for he was wild of aspect), and fled hither
and thither. But Nausicaa stood and fled not.
Then Ulysses thought within himself, should
he go near and clasp her knees, or, lest haply
this should anger her, should he stand and
speak? And this he did, saying: -
"I am thy suppliant, O Queen. Whether
thou art a goddess, I know not. But if thou
art a mortal, happy thy father and mother, and
happy thy brothers, and happiest of all he who
shall win thee in marriage. Never have I seen
man or woman so fair. Thou art like a young
palm tree that but lately I saw in Delos,
springing by the temple of the god. But as
for me, I have been cast on this shore, having
come from the island Ogygia. Pity me, then,
and lead me to the city, and give me some-
thing, a wrapper of this linen, maybe, to put
about me. So may the gods give thee all bless-
And Nausicaa made answer: Thou seem-
est, stranger, to be neither evil nor foolish; and
as for thy plight, the gods give good fortune
or bad, as they will. Thou shalt not lack
clothing or food, or anything that a suppliant
should have. And I will take thee to the city.
Know also that this land is Phaacia, and that I
am daughter to Alcinoiis, who is King thereof."
Then she called to her maidens: "What
mean ye to flee when ye see a man? No
enemy comes hither to harm us, for we are
dear to the gods, and also we live in an island
of the sea, so that men may not approach to
work us wrong; but if one cometh here over-
borne by trouble, it is well to succour him.
Give this man, therefore, food and drink, and
wash him in the river, where there is shelter
from the wind."
So they brought him down to the river, and
gave him a tunic and a cloak to clothe himself
withal, and also oil-olive in a flask of gold.
Then, at his bidding, they departed a little
space, and he washed the salt from his skin
and out of his hair, and anointed himself, and
put on the clothing. And Athene made him
taller and fairer to see, and caused the hair to
76 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
be thick on his head, in colour as a hyacinth.
Then he sat down on the seashore, right beau-
tiful to behold, and the maiden said: -
"Not without some bidding of the gods
comes this man to our land. Before, indeed, I
deemed him uncomely, but now he seems like
to the gods. I should be well content to have
such a man for a husband, and maybe he might
will to abide in this land. But give him, ye
maidens, food and drink."
So they gave him, and he ate ravenously,
having fasted long. Then Nausicaa bade yoke
the mules, and said to Ulysses: -
Arise, stranger, come with me, that I may
bring thee to the house of my father. But do
thou as I shall tell thee, and, indeed, thou
seemest discreet enough. So long as we shall
be passing through the fields, follow quickly
with the maidens behind the chariot. But
when we shall come to the city, thou wilt see
a high wall and a harbour on either side of the
narrow way that leadeth to the gate, then
follow the chariot no more. Hard by the wall
is a grove of Athene, a grove of poplars, with
ULYSSES FOLLOWING THE CAR OF NAUSICAA.
a spring in the midst, and a meadow round
about; there abide till such time as I may have
reached the house of my father. For I would
not that the people should speak lightly of me.
And I doubt not that were thou with me some
one of the baser sort would say: 'Who is this
stranger, tall and fair, that cometh with Nau-
sicaa? Will he be her husband ? Perchance
it is some god who has come down at her
prayer, or a man from far away; for of us
men of Pheacia she thinks scorn.' It would be
shame that such words should be spoken. And
indeed it is ill-done of a maiden who, father
and mother unknowing, companies with men.
But when thou shalt judge that I have come
to the palace, then go up thyself and ask for
my father's house. Any one, even a child, can
show it thee, for the other Phoeacians dwell not
in such. And when thou art come within the
doors, pass quickly through the hall to where
my mother sits. Close to the hearth is her
seat, and my father's hard by, where he sits
with the wine-cup in his hand, as a god. Pass
him by, and lay hold of my mother's knees, and
78 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
pray her that she give thee safe return to thy
Then she smote the mules with the whip.
Quickly did they leave the river behind them;
but the maiden was heedful to drive them so
that Ulysses and the maidens might be able to
follow on foot. At sunset they came to the
sacred grove of Athene, and there Ulysses sat
him down, and prayed to Athene saying,
" Hear me, now, O daughter of Zeus, for before
when Poseidon smote me, thou hardest me not,
and grant that this people may look upon me
So he spake, and Athene heard him, but
showed not herself to him, face to face, for she
feared the wrath of her uncle Poseidon, so
grievously did he rage against Ulysses.
NAUSICAA came to her father's house, and
there her brothers unyoked the mules from
the wagon, and carried the garments into the
house; and the maiden went to her chamber,
where her nurse kindled for her a fire, and pre-
pared a meal.
At the same time Ulysses rose to go to the
city; and Athene spread a mist about him, for
she would not that any of the Phaeacians
should see him and mock him. And when he
was now about to enter the city, the goddess
took upon herself the shape of a young maiden
carrying a pitcher, and met him.
Then Ulysses asked her: "My child, canst
thou tell me where dwells AlcinoUis? for I am
a stranger in this place."
She answered: I will show thee, for indeed
he dwells near to my own father. But be thou
80 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
silent, for we Phoeacians love not strangers
Then Athen6 led the way, and Ulysses fol-
lowed after her; and much he marvelled, as he
went, at the harbours, and the ships, and the
places of assembly, and the walls. And when
they came to the palace, Athene said: This
is the place for which thou didst inquire.
Enter in; here thou shalt find kings at the
feast; but be not afraid; the fearless man ever
fares the best. And look thou first for the
Queen. Her name is Arete, and she is near
akin to the King, for she is indeed his brother's
child. Rhexenor was the King's brother; him
Apollo smote with his shafts, being yet a young
man, and Alcinoiis took his daughter to wife.
Never was wife more honoured of her lord and
of all the people. Nor does she lack under-
standing; and they whom she favoureth have
an end of their troubles. If she be well dis-
posed to thee, doubtless thou wilt see thy
native country again."
Having thus spoken, Athene departed, going
to the land of Athens, and Ulysses entered the
palace. In it there was a gleam as of the sun
or the moon.
A wondrous place it was, with walls of
brass and doors of gold, hanging on posts
of silver; and on either side of the door were
dogs of gold and silver, the work of Hephaestus,
and against the wall, all along from the thresh-
old to the inner chamber, were set seats, on
which sat the chiefs of the Phaacians, feast-
ing; and youths wrought in gold stood holding
torches in their hands, to give light in the
darkness. Fifty women were in the house
grinding corn and weaving robes, for the
women of the land are no less skilled to
weave than are the men to sail the sea. And
round about the house were gardens beautiful
exceedingly, with orchards of fig, and apple,
and pear, and pomegranate, and olive. Drought
hurts them not, nor frost, and harvest comes
after harvest without ceasing. Also there was
a vineyard; and some of the grapes were
parching in the sun, and some were being
gathered, and some again were but just turn-
ing red. And there were beds of all manner
82 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
of flowers; and in the midst of all were two
fountains which never failed.
These things Ulysses regarded for a space,
and then passed into the hall. And there the
chiefs of Phmacia were drinking their last cup
to Hermes. Quickly he passed through them,
and put his hands on the knees of Arete and
said and as he spake the mist cleared from
about him, and all that were in the hall beheld
I am a suppliant to thee, and to thy hus-
band, and to thy guests. The gods bless thee
and them, and grant you to live in peace, and
that your children should come peacefully after
you! Only, do ye send me home to my native
And he sat down in the ashes of the hearth.
Then for a space all were silent, but at the last
spake Echeneiis, who was the oldest man in
the land: -
King Alcinoils, this ill becomes you that
this man should sit in the ashes of the hearth.
Raise him and bid him sit upon a seat, and let
us pour out to Father Zeus, who is the friend
of suppliants, and let the keeper of the house
give him meat and drink."
And Alcinoiis did so, bidding his eldest
born, Laodamas, rise from his seat. And an
attendant poured water on his hands, and the
keeper of the house gave him meat and drink.
Then, when all had poured out to Father Zeus,
King Alcinoiis spake, saying, "In the morning
we will call an assembly of the people, and con-
sider how we may take this stranger to his
home, so that he may reach it without trouble
or pain. Home will we take him without hurt,
but what things may befall him there, we know
not; these shall be as the Fates spun his
thread, when his mother bare him. But, if
haply he is a god and not a man, then is this
a new device of the gods. For heretofore they
have shown themselves manifestly in our midst,
when we offer sacrifice, and sit by our sides at
feasts. Yea, and if a traveller meet them on
the way, they use no disguise, for indeed they
are near of kin to us."
Then spake Ulysses: Think not such
things within thy heart, O King! No god
84 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
am I, but if thou knowest one that is most
miserable among the sons of men, to him
mayest thou liken me. Of many woes might
I tell. Nevertheless, suffer me to eat; 'tis a
shameless thing, the appetite of a man, for,
how sad soever he be, yet it biddeth him eat
and drink. But do ye, when the day cometh,
bestir yourselves, and carry me to my home.
Fain would I die if I could see my home
And they answered that it should be so, and
went each to his home. Only Ulysses was
left in the hall, and Alcinoiis and Arete with
him. And Arete saw his cloak and tunic, that
she and her maidens had made them, and
Whence art thou, stranger? and who gave
thee these garments? "
So Ulysses told her how he had come
from the island of Calypso, and what he had
suffered, and how Nausicaa had found him
on the shore, and had guided him to the
But Alcinoiis blamed the maiden that she
had not herself brought him to the house.
" For thou wast her suppliant," he said.
Nay," said Ulysses, "she would have
brought me, but I would not, fearing thy
wrath." For he would not have the maiden
Then said Alcinoiis: I am not one to be
angered for such cause. Gladly would I have
such a one as thou art to be my son-in-law, and
I would give him house and wealth. But no
one would I stay against his will. And as for
sending thee to thy home, that is easy; thou
shalt lay thee down to sleep, and my men shalt
smite the sea with oars, and take thee whither-
soever thou wilt, even though it be further by
far than Euboea, which they say is the furthest
of all lands. Yet even thither did our men go,
carrying Rhadamanthus. In one day they
went, and returned the same, and were not
weary. For verily my ships are the best that
sail the sea, and my young men the most
skilful of all that ply the oar."
So he spake, and Ulysses rejoiced to hear
his words. And he prayed within himself,
86 THE STORY OF THE ODYSSEY.
" Grant, Father Zeus, that Alcinouis may fulfil
all that he hath said, and that I may come to
my own land "
Then Arete bade her handmaids prepare a
bed for the stranger. So they went from the
hall, with torches in their hands, and made it
ready. And when they had ended they called
Ulysses, saying, Up, stranger, and sleep, for
thy bed is ready."
Right glad was he to sleep after all that he