The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 196 pages of information about The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy.

That was on the fourth day.  On the fifth Calypso gave him garments for the journey and brought provision down to the raft—­two skins of wine and a great skin of water; corn and many dainties.  She showed Odysseus how to guide his course by the star that some call the Bear and others the Wain, and she bade farewell to him.  He took his place on the raft and set his sail to the breeze and he sailed away from Ogygia, the island where Calypso had held him for so long.

But not easily or safely did he make his way across the sea.  The winds blew upon his raft and the waves dashed against it; a fierce blast came and broke the mast in the middle; the sail and the arm-yard fell into the deep.  Then Odysseus was flung down on the bottom of the raft.  For a long time he lay there overwhelmed by the water that broke over him.  The winds drove the raft to and fro—­the South wind tossed it to the North to bear along, and the East wind tossed it to the West to chase.

In the depths of the sea there was a Nymph who saw his toils and his troubles and who had pity upon him.  Ino was her name.  She rose from the waves in the likeness of a seagull and she sat upon the raft and she spoke to Odysseus in words.

‘Hapless man,’ she said, ’Poseidon, the god of the sea, is still wroth with thee.  It may be that the waters will destroy the raft upon which thou sailest.  Then there would be no hope for thee.  But do what I bid thee and thou shalt yet escape.  Strip off thy garments and take this veil from me and wind it around thy breast.  As long as it is upon thee thou canst not drown.  But when thou reachest the mainland loose the veil and cast it into the sea so that it may come back to me.’

[Illustration]

She gave him the veil, and then, in the likeness of a seagull she dived into the sea and the waves closed over her.  Odysseus took the veil and wound it around his breast, but he would not leave the raft as long as its timbers held together.

Then a great wave came and shattered the raft.  He held himself on a single beam as one holds himself on a horse, and then, with the veil bound across his breast, he threw himself into the waves.

For two nights and two days he was tossed about on the waters.  When on the third day the dawn came and the winds fell he saw land very near.  He swam eagerly towards it.  But when he drew nearer he heard the crash of waves as they struck against rocks that were all covered with foam.  Then indeed was Odysseus afraid.

A great wave took hold of him and flung him towards the shore.  Now would his bones have been broken upon the rocks if he had not been ready-minded enough to rush towards a rock and to cling to it with both hands until the wave dashed by.  Its backward drag took him and carried him back to the deep with the skin stripped from his hands.  The waves closed over him.  When he rose again he swam round looking for a place where there might be, not rocks, but some easy opening into the land.

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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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