The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 60

Said Odysseus, 'Sorrow is nearer to my heart than sport, for much have I endured in times that are not far past'

Then a youth who was with Laodamas, Euryalus, who had won in the wrestling bout, said insolently, 'Laodamas is surely mistaken in thinking that thou shouldst be proficient in sports. As I look at thee I think that thou art one who makes voyages for gain—a trader whose only thought is for his cargo and his gains,'

Then said Odysseus with anger. 'Thou hast not spoken well, young man. Thou hast beauty surely, but thou hast not grace of manner nor speech. And thou hast stirred the spirit in my breast by speaking to me in such words.'

Thereupon, clad as he was in his mantle, Odysseus sprang up and took a weight that was larger than any yet lifted, and with one whirl he flung it from his hands. Beyond all marks it flew, and one who was standing far off cried out, 'Even a blind man, stranger, might know that thy weight need not be confused with the others, but lies far beyond them. In this bout none of the Phæacians can surpass thee.'

And Odysseus, turning to the youths, said, 'Let who will, pass that throw. And if any of you would try with me in boxing or wrestling or even in the foot-race, let him stand forward—anyone except Laodamas, for he is of the house that has befriended me. A rude man he would surely be who should strive with his host.'

All kept silence. Then Alcinous the King said, 'So that thou

place was levelled for the dance, and the blind minstrel, Demodocus, took the lyre in his hands and made music, while youths skilled in the dance struck the ground with their feet. Odysseus as he watched them marvelled at their grace and their spirit. When the dance was ended he said to the King, 'My Lord Alcinous, thou didst boast thy dancers to be the best in the world, and thy word is not to be denied. I wonder as I look upon them.'

At the end of the day Alcinous spoke to his people and said, 'This stranger, in all that he does and says, shows himself to be a wise and a mighty man. Let each of us now give him the stranger's gift. Here there are twelve princes of the Phæacians and I am the thirteenth. Let each of us give him a worthy gift, and then let us go back to my house and sit down to supper. As for Euryalus, let him make amends to the stranger for his rudeness of speech as he offers him his gift.'

All assented to the King's words, and Euryalus went to Odysseus and said, 'Stranger, if I have spoken aught that offended thee, may the storm winds snatch it and bear it away. May the gods grant that thou shalt see thy wife and come to thine own country. Too long hast thou endured afflictions away from thy friends.'

So saying, Euryalus gave Odysseus a sword of bronze with a silver hilt and a sheath of ivory. Odysseus took it and said, 'And to you, my friend, may the gods grant all happiness, and mayst thou never miss the sword that thou hast given me. Thy gracious speech hath made full amends.'

Each of the twelve princes gave gifts to Odysseus, and the gifts were brought to the palace and left by the side of the Queen. And Arete herself gave Odysseus a beautiful coffer with raiment and gold in it, and Alcinous, the King, gave him a beautiful cup, all of gold.

In the palace the bath was prepared for Odysseus, and he entered it and was glad of the warm water, for not since he had left the Island of Calypso did he have a warm bath. He came from the bath and put on the beautiful raiment that had been given him and he walked through the hall, looking a king amongst men.