The Odyssey eBook

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

“My dear,” answered Ulysses, “why should you press me to tell you?  Still, I will not conceal it from you, though you will not like it.  I do not like it myself, for Teiresias bade me travel far and wide, carrying an oar, till I came to a country where the people have never heard of the sea, and do not even mix salt with their food.  They know nothing about ships, nor oars that are as the wings of a ship.  He gave me this certain token which I will not hide from you.  He said that a wayfarer should meet me and ask me whether it was a winnowing shovel that I had on my shoulder.  On this, I was to fix my oar in the ground and sacrifice a ram, a bull, and a boar to Neptune; after which I was to go home and offer hecatombs to all the gods in heaven, one after the other.  As for myself, he said that death should come to me from the sea, and that my life should ebb away very gently when I was full of years and peace of mind, and my people should bless me.  All this, he said, should surely come to pass.”

And Penelope said, “If the gods are going to vouchsafe you a happier time in your old age, you may hope then to have some respite from misfortune.”

Thus did they converse.  Meanwhile Eurynome and the nurse took torches and made the bed ready with soft coverlets; as soon as they had laid them, the nurse went back into the house to go to her rest, leaving the bed chamber woman Eurynome {183} to show Ulysses and Penelope to bed by torch light.  When she had conducted them to their room she went back, and they then came joyfully to the rites of their own old bed.  Telemachus, Philoetius, and the swineherd now left off dancing, and made the women leave off also.  They then laid themselves down to sleep in the cloisters.

When Ulysses and Penelope had had their fill of love they fell talking with one another.  She told him how much she had had to bear in seeing the house filled with a crowd of wicked suitors who had killed so many sheep and oxen on her account, and had drunk so many casks of wine.  Ulysses in his turn told her what he had suffered, and how much trouble he had himself given to other people.  He told her everything, and she was so delighted to listen that she never went to sleep till he had ended his whole story.

He began with his victory over the Cicons, and how he thence reached the fertile land of the Lotus-eaters.  He told her all about the Cyclops and how he had punished him for having so ruthlessly eaten his brave comrades; how he then went on to Aeolus, who received him hospitably and furthered him on his way, but even so he was not to reach home, for to his great grief a hurricane carried him out to sea again; how he went on to the Laestrygonian city Telepylos, where the people destroyed all his ships with their crews, save himself and his own ship only.  Then he told of cunning Circe and her craft, and how he sailed to the chill house of Hades, to consult the ghost of the Theban prophet

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.