Back home at last!

 

By Aliki Ammerman

 

 

So you want to know about my trip?

Dear Penelope, I donít know where to begin. I canít describe the hardship and toil of the last ten years. Never mind the fear and loneliness.

And yet, it was so easy in the beginning!

When we left Troy, the city was still burning. Our twelve ships were heavy with loot but we moved fast. Soon, we came so close to Ithaca, we could see the smoke rising from the chimneys. Then a gale blew us far away to the island of the Cyclopes. We went to look for food and found some in the cave of Polyphemus; youíve heard of him, I suppose. Heís one of Poseidonís sons.

We were still eating when he came back home and caught us in the act. He ate two men for dinner, and kept the rest of us prisoners. Well, I had to think fast, didnít I?. The next morning I was able to trick Polyphemus, and we ran for our life.

After some time we got lost at sea, and finally came to the island of Circe. What a witch she was! She turned some of the men into pigs, but thanks to Hermes I knew what to do to save us all: I threatened to kill her and she got scared. She changed the pigs back into men and we sailed away as fast as we could.

Sometimes danger comes under cover; for what could be bad about listening to some beautiful singing? But Circe had warned me, and I took no chances. By the time we were close enough to the island of the Sirens, I was tied fast on the mast, and all the men had their ears plugged with wax. Thatís how I came to hear their magical song. Those piles of bones on the shore, though, made me lose any wish I had to linger.

We continued our journey till we came to the crossing of Scylla and Charybdis, where we lost some men in a most horrible way. These two monsters filled my heart with horror. It was only with superhuman effort we managed to escape from them.

We then sailed to the island of Thrinacia, a quiet place with a flock of cattle grazing in the sun. How could we know the animals belonged to god Helios? We were hungry and wanted meat. The god was very angry, though. As soon as we left the island, he sent us a storm and sunk all our ships. Everyone drowned but me. I only survived by hanging on to a broken mast.

I was now alone in the middle of the wild sea. I was cold, tired, and hungry. I lost count of the days and nights. It was pure luck that brought me to the island of Calypso. ďMaybe I can stay here for a few days to rest and recover my broken spirit,Ē I said to myself. But she had other plans. She was tired of living alone and wanted a companion. Who was I to say no to the daughter of Atlas? I stayed with her for seven years; still, the sight of the smoke rising from my own hearth was always on my mind. I prayed to Zeus to help me go, and he listened to me. By his orders, Calypso let me build a raft and gave me enough provisions for the trip back.

So I set out full of hope, thinking this would be my last adventure at sea. But Poseidon still remembered the way I tricked his son the Cyclops. As soon as he spotted me he sent a strong wind that blew me to the island of the Phaeacians. When the king heard my story he took pity on me and sent me here in a ship. The rest is history.

I often think of the dangers I faced during the last ten years. I lost my ships and my men. But I never lost my hope. I somehow knew I would come back one day, and this kept me going.

Would I go on another trip? To be honest, I donít know.

But Iím tempted!

 

 

Click here for an activity on Odysseus.

Print it, and work on it when you can.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† NostosBooks†††††††††††† Stories and workbooks for children coming to Greece

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Notice: This page is from the authorís e-book ďLetís learn about GreeceĒ and is the copyrighted property of Aliki Ammerman. Permission is given to children and teachers to use the material on this page for educational purposes only. For more pages like this, as well as facts about Greece, order the book ďLetís learn about GreeceĒ at: http://www.nostosbooks.com/index_files/letslearnaboutgreece.htm

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