The Odyssey eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 388 pages of information about The Odyssey.

“On this Hercules went down again into the house of Hades, but I stayed where I was in case some other of the mighty dead should come to me.  And I should have seen still other of them that are gone before, whom I would fain have seen—­Theseus and Pirithous—­glorious children of the gods, but so many thousands of ghosts came round me and uttered such appalling cries, that I was panic stricken lest Proserpine should send up from the house of Hades the head of that awful monster Gorgon.  On this I hastened back to my ship and ordered my men to go on board at once and loose the hawsers; so they embarked and took their places, whereon the ship went down the stream of the river Oceanus.  We had to row at first, but presently a fair wind sprang up.

Book XII

The sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the cattle of the sun.

“After we were clear of the river Oceanus, and had got out into the open sea, we went on till we reached the Aeaean island where there is dawn and sun-rise as in other places.  We then drew our ship on to the sands and got out of her on to the shore, where we went to sleep and waited till day should break.

“Then, when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, I sent some men to Circe’s house to fetch the body of Elpenor.  We cut firewood from a wood where the headland jutted out into the sea, and after we had wept over him and lamented him we performed his funeral rites.  When his body and armour had been burned to ashes, we raised a cairn, set a stone over it, and at the top of the cairn we fixed the oar that he had been used to row with.

“While we were doing all this, Circe, who knew that we had got back from the house of Hades, dressed herself and came to us as fast as she could; and her maid servants came with her bringing us bread, meat, and wine.  Then she stood in the midst of us and said, ’You have done a bold thing in going down alive to the house of Hades, and you will have died twice, to other people’s once; now, then, stay here for the rest of the day, feast your fill, and go on with your voyage at daybreak tomorrow morning.  In the meantime I will tell Ulysses about your course, and will explain everything to him so as to prevent your suffering from misadventure either by land or sea.’

“We agreed to do as she had said, and feasted through the livelong day to the going down of the sun, but when the sun had set and it came on dark, the men laid themselves down to sleep by the stern cables of the ship.  Then Circe took me by the hand and bade me be seated away from the others, while she reclined by my side and asked me all about our adventures.

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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