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Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 980 pages of information about The Age of Fable.
backs and sides, but never thought of their bellies; so the men all passed safe, Ulysses himself being on the last one that passed.  When they had got a few paces from the cavern, Ulysses and his friends released themselves from their rams, and drove a good part of the flock down to the shore to their boat.  They put them aboard with all haste, then pushed off from the shore, and when at a safe distance Ulysses shouted out, “Cyclops, the gods have well requited thee for thy atrocious deeds.  Know it is Ulysses to whom thou owest thy shameful loss of sight.”  The Cyclops, hearing this, seized a rock that projected from the side of the mountain, and rending it from its bed, he lifted it high in the air, then exerting all his force, hurled it in the direction of the voice.  Down came the mass, just clearing the vessel’s stern.  The ocean, at the plunge of the huge rock, heaved the ship towards the land, so that it barely escaped being swamped by the waves.  When they had with the utmost difficulty pulled off shore, Ulysses was about to hail the giant again, but his friends besought him not to do so.  He could not forbear, however, letting the giant know that they had escaped his missile, but waited till they had reached a safer distance than before.  The giant answered them with curses, but Ulysses and his friends plied their oars vigorously, and soon regained their companions.

Ulysses next arrived at the island of Aeolus.  To this monarch Jupiter had intrusted the government of the winds, to send them forth or retain them at his will.  He treated Ulysses hospitably, and at his departure gave him, tied up in a leathern bag, with a silver string, such winds as might be hurtful and dangerous, commanding fair winds to blow the barks towards their country.  Nine days they sped before the wind, and all that time Ulysses had stood at the helm, without sleep.  At last quite exhausted he lay down to sleep.  While he slept, the crew conferred together about the mysterious bag, and concluded it must contain treasures given by the hospitable king Aeolus to their commander.  Tempted to secure some portion for themselves, they loosed the string, when immediately the winds rushed forth.  The ships were driven far from their course, and back again to the island they had just left.  Aeolus was so indignant at their folly that he refused to assist them further, and they were obliged to labor over their course once more by means of their oars.

THE LAESTRYGONIANS

Their next adventure was with the barbarous tribe of Laestrygonians.  The vessels all pushed into the harbor, tempted by the secure appearance of the cove, completely land-locked; only Ulysses moored his vessel without.  As soon as the Laestrygonians found the ships completely in their power they attacked them, heaving huge stones which broke and overturned them, and with their spears despatched the seamen as they struggled in the water.  All the vessels with their crews were destroyed, except Ulysses’ own ship, which had remained outside, and finding no safety but in flight, he exhorted his men to ply their oars vigorously, and they escaped.

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