Making an Entrance


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over the harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandberg

A deep fog rolled over Skheria and into the walls of the city just as the hem of the sun's bright blazing cloak disappeared over the horizon. The fog swirled and swept through the streets, filling in the airy blankness with a palpable atmosphere that shimmered in the moonlight. Odysseus was able to make her entrance into Phaiakia past the city gate unnoticed.

A small girl with dark golden braids and grey eyes formed out of the mist and ran across Odysseus' path clutching a water jar. Confronted with this tiny personage, Odysseus crouched down to enquire after directions.

"Well my dear, it's a bit late to be out with such a large jar to carry," said Odysseus.

"I can carry it, see I've got big muscles," the girl replied, setting the jar down and crooking a bared arm. She tightened her fist to demonstrate the prodigiousness of her childish sinews.

"My, you are strong and you're probably smart as well. I'm a poor old stranger here and I don't know anyone as strong and smart as you are in this city. Perhaps you can help me get to the palace of King Alkinoos?"

The girl looked askance at Odysseus and resumed her watery burden. "My house is near the palace, but you better be quiet. People don't like strangers here, they only like their racing boats. Come on then." She turned and ran up a street which was lined with beautiful white houses and decorated with graceful statues. Within her precarious grasp as much water seemed to spill out of her jar as remained inside. Following, Odysseus could still just see down cross streets some of the harbour and its ships. She could also see large, chequered, public squares and tall ramparts with pointed palisades. This was no doubt a prosperous port. Of course as soon as she had a chance to marvel at the city's wonders, the fog closed in, cloaking all in invisibility.

At the doors of the palace the girl turned to Odysseus. "Here it is, sir. The palace of Queen Arete and King Alkinoos. They'll be eating dinner right now. King Alkinoos is the grandson of Poseidon and Queen Periboia, but it's Queen Arete that everyone looks at as if she's a divinity. Everyone likes her a whole lot, the king, her children and all the people in the city. Wise people even take their disagreements to her." The girl flashed a surprisingly knowing look at Odysseus saying,"If you get on her good side, she might even help you get home." The grey-eyed girl then turned back into the mist and disappeared.

Going A-Courting

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps