|The Odyssey for Boys and Girls|
|by Alfred J. Church|
|Lively retelling of Homer's Odyssey, telling of the wanderings of Ulysses and his adventures with the giant Cyclops and the enchantress Circe as he makes his way home to his beloved Ithaca. There, after slaying the suitors who have been wooing his wife Penelope, he is reunited with his family after twenty long years. Ages 8-12 |
HOW THERE WAS PEACE BETWEEN ULYSSES AND HIS PEOPLE
 NOW all this time there went the news through the town
how the Suitors had been killed. And the people came
from all parts to the king's palace, crying and
mourning; and they took up the dead bodies and carried
them away and buried them. And the bodies of them that
came from the islands round about, they gave to the
fishermen that they might carry them each to his home.
And when they had done this, they gathered together in
the great square of the town till it was filled from
one end to the other.
Then stood Eupeithes, who was father to Antinoüs, the
man who was first killed by Ulysses, and said:
"Friends, this man has done great evil to this land and
this people. He took away with him many brave men in
his ships when he went to Troy; twelve ships he took,
and there were fifty men in
 each. All these he
has lost; not one will you ever see again. But he
himself has come back. Now, therefore, let us take
vengeance on him, and on them that have joined
themselves to him, before they flee to some other land.
It will be a shame to us for ever and ever, if we sit
still and suffer the men who have murdered our sons and
our brothers to go free. For myself, I would rather
die than suffer such disgrace. Let us go, therefore,
before they take ship and escape."
Then Medon the herald stood up in the Assembly, and
Phemius the singer with him, and said: "Listen now to
me, men of Ithaca: all that Ulysses did to the
Suitors, he did by the will of the gods. I myself saw
one of them stand by his side—he seemed like to
Mentor, but I know that he was a god—and he cheered
him on and helped him as he fought, and he turned aside
the spears of the Suitors."
Then a certain prophet stood up, a wise man, who knew
all things that had been, and all that were yet to come
to pass, and he said: "Listen to me, men of Ithaca,
these dreadful things are the harvest, but you sowed
 the seed. For when the wise Mentor told you what you
should do, that you should keep your sons back from
doing this evil, you would not hear him. You suffered
them to waste your king's wealth, and to make suit to
his wife, laughing in their hearts, and thinking that
he would never come back. See now the end. Listen,
therefore, to me. Do not go against this man, lest you
also should perish."
So the wise man spoke, and some listened to him, but
more than half sprang to their feet, and shouted for
the battle. So they armed themselves for the fight,
and followed Eupeithes. Meanwhile Athené in heaven
said to Zeus, her father: "What is thy will, my
father? Must there be still more of war and of the
shedding of blood? or wilt thou command that there be
peace between Ulysses and his people?"
And Zeus answered: "My daughter, order it as thou
wilt. It has been of thy doing that Ulysses has taken
vengeance on the Suitors; now see that there be peace
between him and his people. Let them forget that their
sons and brothers have been
 slain; and that they
be the more ready to forget, see that they have plenty
and prosperity in their land."
Then Athené sped down from heaven to earth, that she
might bring these things to pass.
Meanwhile they that sat in the house of Laertes had
finished their meal, and Ulysses said: "Let some one go
out and see what has been done, lest these people come
upon us before we are ready." So one of the sons of
Dolius went out, and lo! the crowd of armed men was
hard at hand, and he cried out to Ulysses: "They are
coming. Let us arm."
So they arose and armed themselves. Twelve they were
in all—Ulysses and his son, and the swineherd and the
herd serving at the table; and Dolius with his six
sons, and old Laertes. And Athené came in the shape of
Ulysses said to his son: "My son, now you take your
place for the first time in the line of battle. Bear
yourself therefore worthily, and shame not your father
and your father's father."
 And Telemăchus said, and when he spoke the light
of battle was in his eye: "My father, you shall see
what is in the heart of your son; never will I shame my
father and my father's father."
Then the old man cried aloud in his joy: "Now I thank
the gods that I have lived to see this day, for my son
and my son's son contend who shall bear himself more
bravely in the battle."
Then Athené said to the old man Laertes: "And pray to
the father of the gods and men that he may strengthen
your arm, and be you the first to cast your spear."
So the old man prayed; and then he cast his spear; at
Eupeithes, the leader of the rebels, he cast it, and
smote him on the helmet and broke through the brass,
and pierced his brain. Heavily did he fall to the
ground, and his armour rang about him. After this
Ulysses and his son charged at the rebels, and Athené
also lifted up her voice; and the others fled for fear
of the heroes and of the voice. And as Ulysses would
have followed them, Zeus cast down a thunderbolt from
heaven, and it fell at
 the feet of Athené. And
when Athené saw it she cried: "Hold your hand, lest
you move the anger of Father Zeus."
So she came forward, having the shape and voice of
Mentor, and she spoke to the people, and bade them
remember how Ulysses and his father before had been
good kings, and how the Suitors had behaved very badly,
and had suffered as they deserved. "And now," she
said, "he is willing to forget all that is past, and to
rule over you as a just man should. Make your peace
with him." And she herself inclined their hearts to do
this thing. So Ulysses and his people were made
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