A Babe To Arms

Squealing with delight she ran down the fence rows of grape vines. Brighter than emeralds the leaves shone in the sun with shiny green pearls holding the promise of purple autumn sweetness peeking here and there between them. Telemakhe stopped long enough to observe a grasshopper resting upon one of these pearls. In a moment her hand shot out and grabbed the creature between her slobbery fingers.

She drew the insect toward her mouth, but before it could be inserted into that orifice, the grasshopper managed to spit black ink into one of Telemakhe's large round eyes. Telemakhe startled for a moment, then began to wail, dropping the half mangled insect to the ground. Mother was not far behind. She scooped the little girl into her arms and gave her a kiss before wiping ink and tears from her eyes.

"Come now dear-heart, mummy's here," cooed Odysseus.

Telemakhe quieted down and before long was playing with her mother's regalia, sucking on the large ornamental chain. With child on hip Odysseus sauntered back toward the palace. Just outside its gates her husband Penelepos was sitting cross-legged upon a large rock and sketching the landscape. Unbending he arose long enough to give both wife and child a kiss, then returned to his work.

"You have some guests inside," said Penelopos. "I had the servants see to them, since they seemed rather tired and in need of rest before delivering a message to you. I wouldn't worry about it until dinner."

"I should probably go in and clean myself and girly then. I will tell the cooks to prepare a proper feast with one of Eumaios' pigs as the main course," Odysseus replied.

Penelopos smiled and leaned forward to give Odysseus another peck on the lips. "I will follow you inside soon. I just want to finish capturing the olive grove beyond the vineyard."

Odysseus turned out to gaze at this sunny afternoon. For a few moments she savoured its peaceful beauty. Telemakhe yelped at the sight of a passing dragonfly and tried to make a lunge for it, breaking her mother's reverie.

Odysseus returned to herself and the palace gates.

A Bearer of Bad Tidings.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps