So huge a splash did the vast rock give, that the sea heaved up and the backwash of the water drove the ship right to the shore.
Odysseus snatched up a long pole and pushed the ship off once more. Silently he motioned to the men to row hard, and save themselves and their ship from the angry giant. When they were once more out at sea, Odysseus wished again to mock Polyphemus.
In vain his men begged him not to provoke a monster so mighty that he could crush their heads and the timbers of their ship with one cast of a stone. Once more Odysseus shouted across the water:
“Polyphemus, if any one shall ask thee who blinded thee, tell them it was Odysseus of Ithaca.”
Then moaned the giant:
“Once, long ago, a soothsayer told me that Odysseus should make me blind. But ever I looked for the coming of a great and gallant hero, and now there hath come a poor feeble, little dwarf, who made me weak with wine before he dared to touch me.”
Then he begged Odysseus to come back, and said he would treat him kindly, and told him that he knew that his own father, the god of the sea, would give him his sight again.
“Never more wilt thou have thy sight,” mocked Odysseus; “thy father will never heal thee.”
Then Polyphemus, stretching out his hands, and looking up with his sightless eye to the starry sky, called aloud to Poseidon, god of the sea, to punish Odysseus.
“If he ever reaches his own country,” he cried, “let him come late and in an evil case, with all his own company lost, and in the ship of strangers, and let him find sorrows in his own house.”
No answer came from Poseidon, but the god of the sea heard his son’s prayer.
With all his mighty force Polyphemus then cast at the ship a rock far greater than the first. It all but struck the end of the rudder, but the huge waves that surged up from it bore on the ship, and carried it to the further shore.
There they found the men with the other ships waiting in sorrow and dread, for they feared that the giants had killed Odysseus and his company. Gladly they drove the rams of Polyphemus on to the land, and there feasted together until the sun went down.
All night they slept on the sea beach, and at rosy dawn Odysseus called to his men to get into their ships and loose the hawsers. Soon they had pushed off, and were thrusting their oars into the gray sea-water.
Their hearts were sore, because they had lost six gallant men of their company, yet they were glad as men saved from death.
HOW ODYSSEUS MET WITH CIRCE, THE SIRENS, AND CALYPSO
Across the seas sailed Odysseus and his men till they came to an island where lived AEolus the keeper of the winds. When Odysseus again set sail, AEolus gave him a great leather bag in which he had placed all the winds except the wind of the west. His men thought the bag to be full of gold and silver, so, while Odysseus slept they loosened the silver thong, and, with a mighty gust all the winds rushed out driving the ship far away from their homeland.