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HOW ODYSSEUS LEFT TROYLAND AND SAILED FOR HIS KINGDOM PAST THE LAND OF THE LOTUS EATERS
 In the days of long ago there reigned over
Ithaca, a rugged little island in the sea to the
west of Greece, a king whose name was
Odysseus feared no man. Stronger and
braver than other men was he, wiser, and more
full of clever devices. Far and wide he was
known as Odysseus of the many counsels.
Wise, also, was his queen, Penelope, and she
was as fair as she was wise, and as good as she
While their only child, a boy named Telemachus,
was still a baby, there was a very great
war in Troyland, a country far across the sea.
The brother of the overlord of all Greece
besieged Troy, and the kings and princes of
 his land came to help him. Many came from
afar, but none from a more distant kingdom
than Odysseus. Wife and child and old father
he left behind him, and sailed away with his
black-prowed ships to fight in Troyland.
For ten years the siege of Troy went on, and
of the heroes who fought there, none was
braver than Odysseus. Clad as a beggar he
went into the city and found out much to help
the Greek armies. With his long sword he
fought his way out again, and left many of the
men of Troy lying dead behind him. And many
other brave feats did Odysseus do.
After long years of fighting, Troy at last was
taken. With much rich plunder the besiegers
sailed homewards, and Odysseus set sail for
his rocky island, with its great mountain, and
its forests of trembling leaves.
Of gladness and of longing his heart was full.
With a great love he loved his fair wife and
little son and old father, and his little kingdom
by the sea was very dear to him.
I can see nought beside sweeter than a
man's own country,' he said. Very soon he
hoped to see his dear land again, but many a
 long and weary day was to pass ere Odysseus
Odysseus was a warrior, and always he
would choose to fight rather than to be at
As he sailed on his homeward way, winds
drove his ships near the shore. He and his
company landed, sacked the nearest city, and
slew the people. Much rich plunder they took,
but ere they could return to their ships, a host
of people came from inland. In the early
morning, thick as leaves and flowers in the
spring they came, and fell upon Odysseus and
All day they fought, but as the sun went
down the people of the land won the fight.
Back to their ships went Odysseus and his
men. Out of each ship, were six men slain.
While they were yet sad at heart and weary
from the fight, a terrible tempest arose.
Land and sea were blotted out, the ships
were driven headlong, and their sails were torn
to shreds by the might of the storm. For two
days and two nights the ships were at the
mercy of the tempest. At dawn on the third
 day, the storm passed away, and Odysseus and
his men set up their masts and hoisted their
white sails, and drove homeward before the wind.
So he would have come safely to his own
country, but a strong current and a fierce north
wind swept the ships from their course. For
nine days were they driven far from their
homeland, across the deep sea.
On the tenth day they reached the Land of the
Lotus Eaters. The dwellers in that land fed
on the honey-sweet fruit of the lotus flower.
Those who ate of the lotus ceased to remember
that there was a past or a future. All duties
they forgot, and all sadness. All day long they
would sit and dream and dream idle, happy
dreams that never ended.
Here Odysseus and his men landed and
drew water. Three of his warriors Odysseus
sent into the country to see what manner of men
dwelt there. To them the Lotus Eaters gave
their honey-sweet food, and no sooner had each
man eaten than he had no wish ever to return
to the ships. He longed for ever to stay in that
pleasant land, eating the lotus fruit, and dream-
ing the happy hours away.
 Back to the ships Odysseus dragged the
unwilling men, weeping that they must leave so
much joy behind. Beneath the benches of his
ship he tightly bound them, and swiftly he
made his ships sail from the shore, lest yet
others of his company might eat of the lotus
and forget their homes and their kindred.
Soon they had all embarked, and, with heavy
hearts, the men of Ithaca smote the grey
sea-water with their long oars, and sped away
from the land of forgetfulness and of sweet