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

Then Minerva said, “Yes, father stranger, I will show you the house you want, for Alcinous lives quite close to my own father.  I will go before you and show the way, but say not a word as you go, and do not look at any man, nor ask him questions; for the people here cannot abide strangers, and do not like men who come from some other place.  They are a sea-faring folk, and sail the seas by the grace of Neptune in ships that glide along like thought, or as a bird in the air.”

On this she led the way, and Ulysses followed in her steps; but not one of the Phaeacians could see him as he passed through the city in the midst of them; for the great goddess Minerva in her good will towards him had hidden him in a thick cloud of darkness.  He admired their harbours, ships, places of assembly, and the lofty walls of the city, which, with the palisade on top of them, were very striking, and when they reached the king’s house Minerva said: 

“This is the house, father stranger, which you would have me show you.  You will find a number of great people sitting at table, but do not be afraid; go straight in, for the bolder a man is the more likely he is to carry his point, even though he is a stranger.  First find the queen.  Her name is Arete, and she comes of the same family as her husband Alcinous.  They both descend originally from Neptune, who was father to Nausithous by Periboea, a woman of great beauty.  Periboea was the youngest daughter of Eurymedon, who at one time reigned over the giants, but he ruined his ill-fated people and lost his own life to boot.

“Neptune, however, lay with his daughter, and she had a son by him, the great Nausithous, who reigned over the Phaeacians.  Nausithous had two sons Rhexenor and Alcinous; {58} Apollo killed the first of them while he was still a bridegroom and without male issue; but he left a daughter Arete, whom Alcinous married, and honours as no other woman is honoured of all those that keep house along with their husbands.

“Thus she both was, and still is, respected beyond measure by her children, by Alcinous himself, and by the whole people, who look upon her as a goddess, and greet her whenever she goes about the city, for she is a thoroughly good woman both in head and heart, and when any women are friends of hers, she will help their husbands also to settle their disputes.  If you can gain her good will, you may have every hope of seeing your friends again, and getting safely back to your home and country.”

Then Minerva left Scheria and went away over the sea.  She went to Marathon {59} and to the spacious streets of Athens, where she entered the abode of Erechtheus; but Ulysses went on to the house of Alcinous, and he pondered much as he paused a while before reaching the threshold of bronze, for the splendour of the palace was like that of the sun or moon.  The walls on either side were of bronze from end to end, and the cornice was of blue enamel.  The doors were gold, and hung on pillars of silver that rose from a floor of bronze, while the lintel was silver and the hook of the door was of gold.

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