The Odyssey eBook

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

In the end he deemed it best to take to the woods, and he found one upon some high ground not far from the water.  There he crept beneath two shoots of olive that grew from a single stock—­the one an ungrafted sucker, while the other had been grafted.  No wind, however squally, could break through the cover they afforded, nor could the sun’s rays pierce them, nor the rain get through them, so closely did they grow into one another.  Ulysses crept under these and began to make himself a bed to lie on, for there was a great litter of dead leaves lying about—­enough to make a covering for two or three men even in hard winter weather.  He was glad enough to see this, so he laid himself down and heaped the leaves all round him.  Then, as one who lives alone in the country, far from any neighbor, hides a brand as fire-seed in the ashes to save himself from having to get a light elsewhere, even so did Ulysses cover himself up with leaves; and Minerva shed a sweet sleep upon his eyes, closed his eyelids, and made him lose all memories of his sorrows.

Book VI

The meeting between Nausicaa and Ulysses.

So here Ulysses slept, overcome by sleep and toil; but Minerva went off to the country and city of the Phaeacians—­a people who used to live in the fair town of Hypereia, near the lawless Cyclopes.  Now the Cyclopes were stronger than they and plundered them, so their king Nausithous moved them thence and settled them in Scheria, far from all other people.  He surrounded the city with a wall, built houses and temples, and divided the lands among his people; but he was dead and gone to the house of Hades, and King Alcinous, whose counsels were inspired of heaven, was now reigning.  To his house, then, did Minerva hie in furtherance of the return of Ulysses.

She went straight to the beautifully decorated bedroom in which there slept a girl who was as lovely as a goddess, Nausicaa, daughter to King Alcinous.  Two maid servants were sleeping near her, both very pretty, one on either side of the doorway, which was closed with well made folding doors.  Minerva took the form of the famous sea captain Dymas’s daughter, who was a bosom friend of Nausicaa and just her own age; then, coming up to the girl’s bedside like a breath of wind, she hovered over her head and said: 

“Nausicaa, what can your mother have been about, to have such a lazy daughter?  Here are your clothes all lying in disorder, yet you are going to be married almost immediately, and should not only be well dressed yourself, but should find good clothes for those who attend you.  This is the way to get yourself a good name, and to make your father and mother proud of you.  Suppose, then, that we make tomorrow a washing day, and start at daybreak.  I will come and help you so that you may have everything ready as soon as possible, for all the best young men among your own people are courting you, and you are not going to remain a maid much longer.  Ask your father, therefore, to have a waggon and mules ready for us at daybreak, to take the rugs, robes, and girdles, and you can ride, too, which will be much pleasanter for you than walking, for the washing-cisterns are some way from the town.”

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.