Where I've Been To my dearest PENELOPE and telemachus

Cicones

To my dearest Penelope and Telemachus, I am so happy to be home with you finally, after all these years. I would like to tell you both the tale of my adventures coming home to you. There was a wind that carried west from Ilion that brought me on the coast of the Cicones. Those men were fierce, but I am such a formidable leader, that I lead my men to a victory against the Cicones. So we made our way, but I just had to boast about our victory, so I turned around. Zeus tried to make it harder for me to escape by creating a storm, but I got my men out of the storm, then we sailed on our way.

Lotus Eaters

We were sailing for nine days before we reach the coastline of the Lotus Eaters. I told sent two of my men out to find food, and sure enough, they met the Lotus Eaters. They pretended that they meant no harm, and they gave my men Lotus flowers, and enough for the rest of us. The Lotus Eaters wanted all of us to have some flowers. But thanks to my intelligence, I realized what was happening. The Lotus flowers made people forget about time, and forget about home. They make you want to stay in one place. I dragged my men to our ship, tied them down, and we were back at sea.

The Cyclops

So, we stumbled upon a cave, which little did I know was the cave of Polyphemus, Poseidon's one-eyed monster son. We entered the cave and saw an array of cheese laid out. So as hungry as we were, we started eating it. When the cyclops pounded its way in, we all scattered to the far wall. He had a giant rock and jammed it into the opening of the cave to block us from leaving. I could smell fear on him. He asked us if we were here for business or to ravage him. I told the cyclops that we had fought in the battle of Troy under the direction of Agamemnon. I also said that Zeus would protect him from any offenders. For this, he called me a "ninny". He doesn't care because Zeus can't touch him. He then took two of my men, and ate them like candy. I realized that I couldn't kill the cyclops, or we would have no way out of the cave. So we camped out until morning, then was aided by Athena. She gave me the perfect material to make a spear. I helped my men make the spear all day, then our plan went to action later that night. I got the cyclops drunk, them we jammed the spear into the cyclops's eye. We carefully sneaked out, but the cyclops was behind us. We got back to our ship. but the cyclops threw boulders at us. We were able to get away with my assistance.

The Enchantress Circe

So, we had just left the island of the cyclops, and were down by six men. We stopped on a nearby island for water, and there was Aeolus. He took all the bad winds away, to make my trip home easier, and put it all in a bag. Of course, I still could have gotten home without this, but it was a nice gesture. But what fools my crew were. They disobeyed me! We had a clear sighting of Ithaca and would have been home years earlier, if my crew hadn't let curiosity get the best of them. We had Ithaca in our midst until the bag was opened. The wind blew us years out of course, and on to the Enchantress Circe's island. When we got to the island, I had a few of my men go hunting for food. All of them except one were captured and turned into animals. One of my men got away, and told me what happened. Some of us didn't believe him, so I went to check it out myself. Hermes met me on the way there, and gave me a potion to protect me from Circe's potion. So when Circe gave me her potion, I did not change into an animal. She made a deal that if I slept with her, she would change my crew back. I was thinking of you the whole time Penelope, how much I would have rather been with you. I only did this so she would turn my men back, I had no other option. She turned my men back, and I had no idea how long I had been with her. Time slips by faster on her island. It had been about five years. So I demanded her to tell me how to get home. She told me that I must go to the Land of the Dead, and speak to a blind man.

The Land of the Dead

I went down to Hades to talk to the spirit of Tiresias, on recommendation of Circe. So first, I had to go to the River of Ocean and make a sacrifice, as Circe told me to do, so to attract the attention of the souls. The first soul to appear to me was the soul of one of my crew members, whom pleaded to me to go back and give him a proper burial. The next soul that appeared to me was Tiresias, the blind prophet. He told me that Poseidon is punishing the Aeaeans for blinding his son Polyphemus. He told me my fate, that I will return home, reclaim my palace and wife from the contemptible suitors who have took over my home. He warned me not to touch the cattle on the island of the sun god. I also spoke to my mother. She was the last person I wanted to see down there. I can't believe she is in the house of Hades instead of the house of Zeus. She updated me on what was happening in Ithaca and told me she died from grief of waiting for me to return. Traumatized, I then left the land of the dead, and headed back to Aeaea, to bury my fallen men.

The Sirens; Scylla and Charybdis

So we returned to Aeaea, and performed all the proper funeral rites for my crew member, and buried his body. Before we departed the island, Circe told me that we must pass the island of the Sirens, who will try to lure us to our deaths with a song. She advised me to put earwax in my men's ears and tie myself to the mast if I insisted on hearing the siren's music. Next, she told me that the crew must pass Scylla, a terrible six-headed monster, and Charybdis, who creates a whirlpool that sucks whole ships down into the sea three times a day. Circe advised that we sail our ship past Scylla and sacrifice six men rather than risk getting sucked down into the whirlpool and sinking. I asked if we could escape Charybdis and fight off Scylla, but Circe chastised me for my creative thinking and bravery. Since Scylla is immortal, it cannot be defeated. As we sailed away, I told the men Circe's advice, but left out the part about Scylla and Charybdis. I make smart decisions like this, I just didn't want to paralyze my men with fear. As we passed the island of the Siren's the men put wax in their ears and lashed me to the mast. We passed without incident. When we got to Charybdis, we carefully sailed around the whirlpool, and Scylla grabbed and ate six men. Filled with grief and pity, we sailed away as fast as possible.

The Cattle of the Sun God

After all that, we reached the island of the Sun. I wanted to avoid this island altogether, which would have been a smart idea I might add, but Eurylochus insisted that the crew needed rest. I made my men swear an oath not to eat any cattle, but we were trapped on the island for a month by an unfortunate wind. Eventually our stores of food ran out and we began to starve. One day, I fell asleep, and Eurylochus convinced my men to eat the Cattle of the Sun: it's better to die at sea from the wrath of the gods, he said, than to die of hunger. I woke up to find that the men had broken their oaths and killed some cattle. The sun god Helios angrily asked Zeus and the other gods to punish my crew for killing his cattle, and Zeus complied. Strange things began to happen to the cattle that had been killed: they bellowed and moved. But they continued to feast for six more days before sailing away. As soon as we were out at sea Zeus sent down a storm that destroyed the ship and killed everyone aboard except me, who hung on to some pieces of wood. The wind drove me back toward Charybdis right when the monster made the whirlpool, but I saved himself by hanging on to the branch of a fig-tree. After the whirlpool spit back out my little raft I drifted at sea until I reached Calypso's island.

Calypso

I was washed up unto Calypso's island. She was a beautiful nymph goddess. Her beauty does not compare to your beauty however Penelope. I stayed with her for seven years, she took care of me, and I took care of her. I spent my days watching the ocean, crying and longing for home. I missed you both so dearly. Then one day, Calypso said she would offer me a raft and help me get home. I excitedly jumped on this offer. But then Calypso got hurt. She thought that there was something between us, which there wasn't. She wanted me to stay and marry her. She even offered me immortality if I stayed with her. But I told her that I would rather be with my loving wife and son. I found out later, that the reason why she let me go was that Zeus had demanded I be released. He sent Hermes to tell this to Calypso.

Scheria (Island of the Phaeacians)

While on my way home to Ithaca, Poseidon realized what Zeus had done and created a storm. My shipped wrecked and I started to drown. Then the sea goddess Ino came to my rescue and put a veil over me that kept me safe. I was washed up on Scheria the land of the Phaeaians at nighttime. That night while Princess Nausica was sleeping Athena appeared in her dream, disguised as her friend. She told Nausica to go to the riverbank to wash her clothes the next morning. Nausica went with a few of her handmaidens and they took off their clothes to wash them. They started playing ball as I woke up. I saw them and they were all afraid except for Nausica. Nausica let me wash myself up alone and Athena made me look very handsome so that Nausica would fall in love with me. Nausica brought me to her father, Alcinous. Alcinous was so impressed by me, that he asked me to take his daughter's hand in marriage. We had dinner the next night and I broke down and told Alcinous my whole story. Alcinous gave me a ship that would take me home the next day. Then I finally made it home to the two loves of my life. I reclaimed my kingdom, and now we can live out the rest of our days in happiness and in love.

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