The Odyssey eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 498 pages of information about The Odyssey.

’Then we came to the isle Aeolian, where dwelt Aeolus, son of Hippotas, dear too the deathless gods, in a floating island, and all about it is a wall of bronze unbroken, and the cliff runs up sheer from the sea.  His twelve children to abide there in his halls, six daughters and six lusty sons; and, behold, he gave his daughters to his sons to wife.  And they feast evermore by their dear father and their kind mother, and dainties innumerable lie ready to their hands.  And the house is full of the savour of feasting, and the noise thereof rings round, yea in the courtyard, by day, and in the night they sleep each one by his chaste wife in coverlets and on jointed bedsteads.  So then we came to their city and their goodly dwelling, and the king entreated me kindly for a whole month, and sought out each thing, Ilios and the ships of the Argives, and the return of the Achaeans.  So I told him all the tale in order duly.  But when I in turn took the word and asked of my journey, and bade him send me on my way, he too denied me not, but furnished an escort.  He gave me a wallet, made of the hide of an ox of nine seasons old, which he let flay, and therein he bound the ways of all the noisy winds; for him the son of Cronos made keeper of the winds, either to lull or to rouse what blasts he will.  And he made it fast in the hold of the ship with a shining silver thong, that not the faintest breath might escape.  Then he sent forth the blast of the West Wind to blow for me, to bear our ships and ourselves upon our way; but this he was never to bring to pass, for we were undone through our own heedlessness.

’For nine whole days we sailed by night and day continually, and now on the tenth day my native land came in sight, and already we were so near that we beheld the folk tending the beacon fires.  Then over me there came sweet slumber in my weariness, for all the time I was holding the sheet, nor gave it to any of my company, that so we might come quicker to our own country.  Meanwhile my company held converse together, and said that I was bringing home for myself gold and silver, gifts from Aeolus the high-hearted son of Hippotas.  And thus would they speak looking each man to his neighbour: 

’"Lo now, how beloved he is and highly esteemed among all men, to the city and land of whomsoever he may come.  Many are the goodly treasures he taketh with him out of the spoil from Troy, while we who have fulfilled like journeying with him return homeward bringing with us but empty hands.  And now Aeolus hath given unto him these things freely in his love.  Nay come, let us quickly see what they are, even what wealth of gold and silver is in the wallet.”

’So they spake, and the evil counsel of my company prevailed.  They loosed the wallet, and all the winds brake forth.  And the violent blast seized my men, and bare them towards the high seas weeping, away from their own country; but as for me, I awoke and communed with my great heart, whether I should cast myself from the ship and perish in the deep, or endure in silence and abide yet among the living.  Howbeit I hardened my heart to endure, and muffling my head I lay still in the ship.  But the vessels were driven by the evil storm-wind back to the isle Aeolian, and my company made moan.

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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