| Stories of the Ancient Greeks|
|by Charles D. Shaw|
|Delightful collection of both mythological and historical stories of the ancient Greeks, in language simple enough for younger listeners, yet appealing to all ages. Provides an excellent introduction to ancient Greece, beginning with 32 of the best-known myths, and then continuing with 32 short stories of the historical era, arranged in chronological order. An extensive pronunciation guide is included. Ages 8-11 |
A FRIENDLY LAND
T was the island of Calypso upon which Ulysses had been
cast. She was a sea-nymph, or goddess of the sea. She
treated the stranger well, and he remained on the
island for some time, but at last he built for himself
a raft, took some food on board, and pushed off into
the broad sea.
THE WRECKED ULYSSES
After floating for many days his raft was broken in a
storm, but he reached land at the mouth of a gentle
river. Near the shore was a wood, where he heaped
leaves together and lay down to sleep, very tired but
very glad to be safe on dry ground.
The land was called Scheria, and the people living
there were happy and peaceful. They had neither swords
nor bows. Their chief business and great delight was
That very night, while Ulysses was sleeping under the
trees, the king's daughter had a dream. Athene
appeared to her and said, "My child, do you remember
that your wedding day will soon be here? The family
should all be dressed in clean white robes that will
shine like silver. Go to-morrow with your maidens, and
see that every garment of the household is well and
carefully washed, to be ready for the great occasion."
 The princess was named Nausicaa. In the morning she
asked her father and mother if they did not think it
was time to have the family washing done. They said,
"Yes," and the king ordered the chariot to be got ready
and loaded with clothes. A good supply of food was
also put in, and the princess took the driver's seat
and handled the reins. The maidens followed on foot
and the procession moved toward the river.
When the clothes were washed and spread out to dry, the
girls ate their dinner and began to play ball. The
ball, rolled into the river; whereupon the maidens
screamed, and Ulysses awoke.
He came out of the woods, a wretched object. His hair
and beard were long and tangled, his eyes were wild
with hunger, his clothes were few and miserable. When
the maidens saw him, they ran away frightened. But the
king's daughter stood still, for she was of royal blood
and not a coward.
Ulysses broke off a leafy branch from a tree, and held
it before him to hide his raggedness. He told the
princess that he was a shipwrecked stranger and asked
her help. She called back her maidens and gave him
food and some of her brother's clothes, which had been
in the chariot. Then she drove home, telling him to
follow at a little distance.
On the way Athene met him, gave him some advice, and
hid him in a cloud that he might go unseen through the
city. He saw the harbor, the ships, the houses, and
the people, yet reached the palace unnoticed. Its
doors were gold, its doorposts of silver. Near it was
full of delicious fruits and flowers.
Everything outside the house was charming, as
everything within was peaceful. The king, his family,
and the great men, were sitting at supper. The cloud
melted away, and they saw Ulysses, standing in the
middle of the hall. He went to the queen and knelt
before her, and asked her kind help to reach his native
country. Then he took a seat by the fire, as beggars
did in those days.
The king said to his son, "It would be like a prince to
give the stranger your place." The youth rose up, took
Ulysses by the hand and led him to a seat, where he ate
and drank among the nobles of the land.
After the feast, when the others had gone away to their
homes, he told the king and queen his story. They
promised him a ship which should take him to his own
The next day the chief men agreed with the king that
the stranger should be kindly sent home. A ship and
its rowers were chosen, and all went to the palace for
a farewell feast. Afterwards in the arena, the young
men held games, with running, wrestling, and other
sports. They invited Ulysses to take part, but he
asked to be excused.
One of the young men said, "Why do you trouble the
stranger? He is old, his joints are stiff, he is not
able to do what we can do!"
Ulysses found a quoit, or weight, much heavier than had
yet been thrown, and sent it whirling through the air.
It fell far beyond the best throw made by any of the
 They went back to the hall, and a blind bard, or
minstrel, was led in. He sang about the wooden horse
and the fall of Troy. The company was pleased, but it
brought back old times to the memory of Ulysses, and
his eyes were filled with tears.
The king said, "Noble stranger, you weep! Why does the
song make you sorrowful? Did you lose at Troy a
father, a brother or a dear friend?"
Ulysses stood up and said, "I was at Troy. The wooden
horse was made by my advice. I fought beside the Greek
heroes and saw many of them fall. I weep for the days
and men that are no more."
He told them all his story. They gave him rich
presents and sent him home. When the ship reached the
port he was asleep. The sailors did not waken him, but
carried him and his chests of presents to the shore;
then they sailed away to their own land.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics