The Odyssey eBook

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

“Nine days and nine nights did we sail, and on the tenth day our native land showed on the horizon.  We got so close in that we could see the stubble fires burning, and I, being then dead beat, fell into a light sleep, for I had never let the rudder out of my own hands, that we might get home the faster.  On this the men fell to talking among themselves, and said I was bringing back gold and silver in the sack that Aeolus had given me.  ‘Bless my heart,’ would one turn to his neighbour, saying, ’how this man gets honoured and makes friends to whatever city or country he may go.  See what fine prizes he is taking home from Troy, while we, who have travelled just as far as he has, come back with hands as empty as we set out with—­and now Aeolus has given him ever so much more.  Quick—­let us see what it all is, and how much gold and silver there is in the sack he gave him.’

“Thus they talked and evil counsels prevailed.  They loosed the sack, whereupon the wind flew howling forth and raised a storm that carried us weeping out to sea and away from our own country.  Then I awoke, and knew not whether to throw myself into the sea or to live on and make the best of it; but I bore it, covered myself up, and lay down in the ship, while the men lamented bitterly as the fierce winds bore our fleet back to the Aeolian island.

“When we reached it we went ashore to take in water, and dined hard by the ships.  Immediately after dinner I took a herald and one of my men and went straight to the house of Aeolus, where I found him feasting with his wife and family; so we sat down as suppliants on the threshold.  They were astounded when they saw us and said, ’Ulysses, what brings you here?  What god has been ill-treating you?  We took great pains to further you on your way home to Ithaca, or wherever it was that you wanted to go to.’

“Thus did they speak, but I answered sorrowfully, ’My men have undone me; they, and cruel sleep, have ruined me.  My friends, mend me this mischief, for you can if you will.’

“I spoke as movingly as I could, but they said nothing, till their father answered, ’Vilest of mankind, get you gone at once out of the island; him whom heaven hates will I in no wise help.  Be off, for you come here as one abhorred of heaven.’  And with these words he sent me sorrowing from his door.

“Thence we sailed sadly on till the men were worn out with long and fruitless rowing, for there was no longer any wind to help them.  Six days, night and day did we toil, and on the seventh day we reached the rocky stronghold of Lamus—­Telepylus, the city of the Laestrygonians, where the shepherd who is driving in his sheep and goats [to be milked] salutes him who is driving out his flock [to feed] and this last answers the salute.  In that country a man who could do without sleep might earn double wages, one as a herdsman of cattle, and another as a shepherd, for they work much the same by night as they do by day. {84}

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.