The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 58

Then said Alcinous the King, 'Our daughter did not do well when she did not bring thee straight to our house.'

Odysseus said, 'My Lord, do not blame the maiden. She bade me follow with her company, and she was only careful that no one should have cause to make ill-judged remarks upon the stranger whom she found.'

Then Alcinous, the King, praised Odysseus and said that he should like such a man to abide in his house and that he would give him land and wealth, in the country of the Phæacians. 'But if it is not thy will to abide with us,' he said, 'I shall give thee a ship and a company of men to take thee to thy own land, even if that land be as far as Eubæa, which, our men say, is the farthest of all lands.' As he said this Odysseus uttered a prayer in his heart, 'O Father Zeus, grant that Alcinous the King may fulfil all that he has promised—and for that may his fame never be quenched—and that I may come to my own land.'

Arete now bade the maids prepare a bed for Odysseus. This they did, casting warm coverlets and purple blankets upon it. And when Odysseus came to the bed and lay in it, after the tossing of the waves, rest in it seemed wonderfully good.

At dawn of day he went with the King to the assembly of the Phæacians. When the Princes and Captains and Councillors were gathered together, Alcinous spoke to them saying:

'Princes and Captains and Councillors of the Phæacians! This stranger has come to my house in his wanderings, and he desires us to give him a ship and a company of men, so that he may cross the sea and come to his own land. Let us, as in times past we have done for others, help him in his journey. Nay, let us even now draw down a black ship to the sea, and put two and fifty of our noblest youths upon it, and let us make it ready for the voyage. But before he departs from amongst us, come all of you to a feast that I shall give to this stranger in my house. And moreover, let us take with us the minstrel of our land, blind Demodocus, that his songs may make us glad at the feast.'

So the King spoke, and the Princes, Captains and Councillors of the Phæacians went with him to the palace. And at the same time two and fifty youths went down to the shore of the sea, and drew down a ship and placed the masts and sails upon it, and left the oars in their leathern loops. Having done all this they went to the palace where the feast was being given and where many men had gathered.

The henchman led in the minstrel, blind Demodocus. To him the gods had given a good and an evil fortune—the gift of song with the lack of sight. The henchman led him through the company, and placed him on a seat inlaid with silver, and hung his lyre on the pillar above his seat. When the guests and the minstrel had feasted, blind Demodocus took down the lyre and sang of things that were already famous—of the deeds of Achilles and Odysseus.