We arrived two days ago on this island from Telepyus, Land of the Laestrygonians with heavy hearts, grieving for the loss of our dear comrades. In our sorrow we lay on the shore for two days and two nights, wailing and crying at the pain and anguish we felt for our lost companions. But now I feel that I have to move for the sake of my remaining crew, otherwise I believe we will stay here forever, wallowing in our grief. I am going to leave the men here while set off alone to explore, it would be pointless trying to make the men move now.
Half of the crew and myself are now sat on the beach, awaiting the return of the other half of the crew. After my last entry I set off and came to a rocky height and as I became close to the top of it I could see a cloud of reddish smoke rising, as I got closer and closer to the top I saw that it was coming from the chimney of a house in the distance. I was unsure of how I felt at the sight, I was left in two minds, whether to press on forwards and investigate or not.
After some deep thought I made the decision n to go back to the shore and try to find some food on the way, the welfare of my men must come first, I would then split the men in to two halves and leave half on the shore and the I would send the other half to explore the island I think that it is best to only let half go incase of any danger, that way if any crew are lost it will only be half or less. I cannot risk loosing any more crew after what happened with Antiphates and the Cyclops.
On my way back the Gods must have been in my favour because I came across I stag, which I managed to kill and although it was a brute of a thing I could just manage to put it over my shoulder and drag it back to the shore where I greeted my men warmly and we ate the meal. The meal did seem to boost their morale, which is what I had hoped; I hoped that it might encourage them that we were going to be fine. After we ate we slept and this morning half of the men set off to explore led by Eurylochus.
Eurylochus returned alone, claiming that the rest of the men were turned into pigs by a witch named Circe. He told me that when he and his men had reached the Palace of Circe they had heard a beautiful voice singing while working on a loom, one man had said that whoever was inside must have been either a Goddess or woman, she called out to them and invited them inside. But Eurylochus, being a very suspicious man, suspected a trap and did not go in, so Polites led the men and in their innocence they followed him inside.
Then he told me that the men had been fed and given drinks of yellow honey with Pramnian wine which she tipped with a noxious drug. The men were then herded into a pigsty and fed acorns and forest nuts, they grunted like pigs but their minds were as human as before, but with no memory of their native land because of the drug. After hearing this news I threw my sword in its silver scabbard over my shoulder and grabbed my bow and told Eurylochus to take me back with him by the same way he had come.
But he threw his arms around my knees and begged me to let him stay where he was, so I let him stay because if I had pursued my order, it may have caused a mutiny because he would have disobeyed my order making me look like a bad leader, or and the rest of the crew may have been swayed to the point of view that I had bad judgement , after all my judgement wasn’t always perfect, I hadn’t been very cautious where the Cyclopes and Laestrygonians had been concerned and perhaps it may have been better if I had have been. So I let him stay and kept up a better image rather than risk looking unkind and uncompassionate.
But although Eurylochus will no be coming with me I still have to go on because I cannot loose any more men, so I am going on alone to retrieve my comrades, I’ll set off now. I have just returned back to the beach after my encounter with Circe. Soon after leaving the shore I was surprised to meet up with Hermes, who told me that I should eat a special herb called Moly which would stop Circe’s powers affecting me. He then instructed me to go on to the palace and accept Circe’s offerings, but when she strikes me with her stick I should rush at her with intent to kill her and she will beg for me to go to her bed.
He said that if I slept with her she might rob me of my courage and manhood so I should get her to swear an oath before hand so that she wouldn’t, and that after I had been in bed with her she would let my men go. I ate the herb and then went on to the palace and when I got outside I called to her and she let me in and fed me and then she offered me a goblet of yellow looking honeyed wine, but I knew that it was drugged, and just like Hermes had told me I drank it and it had no effect thanks to the Moly.
Next she hit me with her stick and shouted “Off to the pigsty and lie down with your friends”, so I snatched up my sword and rushed at her as if I meant to kill her, she slipped beneath my blade, grabbed my knees and burst into tears. She then asked me who I was and where I came from but before I could answer she said that I must be Odysseus because Hermes had once told her that a man named Odysseus would come to her palace and suffer no effects from her drug. She then asked me to join her in her bed and get to trust each other.
I could not deny a Goddess, and it was for the sake of my crew, Hermes had told me to accept this offer and although I could not help but think about my wife in Ithaca I knew that to get back home to her I would have to sleep with Circe, so I followed her to her bed, but not before getting her to swear a solemn oath that while they were in bed she should not rob me of my courage and manhood. After I had slept with Circe she told me to return to the shore and collect my men and bring them back to the palace so she could offer them food, drink and fresh clothes, and she let the men out of the sty and turned them back.
I got to the shore and told my men the good news, that their friends were now human again and that we all had a feast waiting for us at Circe’s palace. But Eurylochus did not take this as good news; he told the men not to trust me and said that I had almost cost them their lives before and that it was my fault we had lost so many men before as it was me who always led the men into danger, like when I made the men go into the Cyclops cave and stay there, and when I lost the men on the Land of the Laestrygonians.
I was so enraged by his defiant outburst I considered drawing my sword and lopping his head off there and then but my men held me back and calmed me down. They said that they would come with me and Eurylochus could stay with the ship if he didn’t want to come, however he came anyway, if only through fear but we all knew that he was terrified of Circe’s Palace too. So now we are all going ahead to Circe’s Palace, although my blood is still boiling over what Eurylochus said.
I have just had the most difficult day of my journey so far, for after I collected my men and took them to the Palace of Circe, after some persuasion we when to the Palace where the two partied of men met and cried in joy at the sight of each other and we stayed there and ate and drank and bathed and rested for a whole year. It was so relieving to be able to rest and relax that I didn’t realise that we’d stayed that long, until the men came to me today and reminded me that we should be on our way because they wanted to get home.
I felt like a bad leader for getting so engrossed with this lifestyle that I forgot about their feelings and the time. We feasted for the rest of the day and then as night fell I went to Circe and clasped her knees in supplication and I told her what I felt and how the men felt and asked her to keep the promise she had once made me about sending me home.
That is when she told me this dreadful news; to get home I must first go down to the underworld, into the Halls of Hades and consult the soul of Teiresias, who was the only person who could tell me the way home. These terrible words struck me hard and my heart sank, I felt like I had no more reasons for living. But If I ever wanted to return home I had to do this, it was heart breaking but it had to be done. What would be worse was that I would have to tell the crew.
I found out from Circe that I would have to set up my mast and wait for the north wind to blow my ship on its way, she said I would come to a wild coast and Persephone’s Grove, I should go to the specific place she stated then dig a trench as long and wide as a mans forearm, I should go round the trench and pour offerings to the dead and after that I should sprinkle white barley and begin my prayers and make Teiresias a separate offering of a the finest jet black sheep of my flock. Then there would be more sacrifices of a ewe and ram and pray some more until I would be able to talk to Teiresias who could give me a route home.
As if this news hadn’t been hard enough I now had to tell my comrades the same thing and get them to agree. Then one of the younger men who had gotten drunk last night herd me calling the men to wake up and he leapt up and fell off the roof and broke his neck and went straight to Hades. Then I broke the news to the men, it was so had to tell them but I had to do it or we will never be able to return to our beloved homes. When I told them they were broken hearted and deeply upset and Circe put the animals for the sacrifice on the ship for me. The men have agreed to go on the next step of our journey home; I just hope that we will prevail.