Next day the King gave a great entertainment for Odysseus. There were boxing and wrestling and leaping and running, and in all of these the brothers of Nausicaa were better than all others who tried.
But when they came to throw the weight, and begged Odysseus to try, he cast a stone heavier than all others, far beyond where the Phaeacians had thrown.
That night there was feasting in the royal halls, and the King’s minstrels played and sang songs of the taking of Troy, and of the bravery of the great Odysseus. And Odysseus listened until his heart could bear no more, and tears trickled down his cheeks. Only the King saw him weep. He wondered much why Odysseus wept, and at last he asked him.
So Odysseus told the King his name, and the whole story of his adventures since he had sailed away from Troyland.
Then the King and Queen and their courtiers gave rich gifts to Odysseus. A beautiful silver-studded sword was the King’s gift to him.
Nausicaa gave him nothing, but she stood and gazed at him in his purple robes and felt more sure than ever that he was the handsomest and the greatest hero she had ever seen.
“Farewell, stranger,” she said to him when the hour came for her to go to bed, for she knew she would not see him on the morrow. “Farewell, stranger. Sometimes think of me when thou art in thine own land.”
Then said Odysseus: “All the days of my life I shall remember thee, Nausicaa, for thou hast given me my life.”
Next day a company of the Phaeacians went down to a ship that lay by the seashore, and with them went Odysseus. They carried the treasures that had been given to him and put them on board, and spread a rug on the deck for him. There Odysseus lay down, and as soon as the splash of the oars in the water and the rush and gush of the water from the bow of the boat told him that the ship was sailing speedily to his dear land of Ithaca, he fell into a sound sleep. Onward went the ship, so swiftly that not even a hawk flying after its prey could have kept pace with her. When the bright morning stars arose, they were close to Ithaca. The sailors quickly ran their vessel ashore and gently carried the sleeping Odysseus, wrapped round in his rug of bright purple, to where a great olive-tree bent its gray leaves over the sand. They laid him under the tree, put his treasures beside him, and left him, still heavy with slumber. Then they climbed into their ship and sailed away.
While Odysseus slept the goddess Athene shed a thick mist round him. When he awoke, the sheltering heavens, the long paths, and the trees in bloom all looked strange to him when seen through the grayness of the mist.
“Woe is me!” he groaned. “The Phaeacians promised to bring me to Ithaca, but they have brought me to a land of strangers, who will surely attack me and steal my treasures.”
But while he was wondering what he should do, the goddess Athene came to him. She was tall and fair and noble to look upon, and she smiled upon Odysseus with her kind gray eyes.