*Odysseus' Face*

The One-Eyed Avoid

Our next landfall proved a miraculous feat, since we were surrounded by a dense fog when we made it safely to shore. The harbour so swathed in woolly obscurity did not reveal the riches of its surrounding lands, nor the island resting within its watery arms. Tired of travel and rough seas we put to land and slept on steady ground that night (albeit still sensing the ocean pulse in our dreams). In the morning when that brash tart Dawn filled the sky with the bright colours of a new day, we could finally see a lush fertile land with wild grape vines growing in profusion.

From where we lay I could see the smoke of fires rising from the nearby island, and such a profusion of goats on its hills that even from a distance, they could be seen roaming over rocks and down stream-filled gullies. We weren't really close enough to smell the breakfast the inhabitants of that island must be fixing, but I could imagine a whiff of goat cheese melted on toast, goat cutlets, eggs and a hot cup of arabica.

We quickly managed our own breakfast, catching some of the wild mainland goats for eating. I then proposed that a team of twelve crew members journey to the island with me in order to engage the natives. I packed up a single wineskin of some of our best wine on-board and a selection of interesting spices that we had pillaged from Ismaros, as a gift for whomever may become our hosts in this new land.

As we rowed toward the island and around to a fresh water inlet, we could hear the loud clashing of work at some forge and great crackling sparks flying over the island skyline. At one point we passed what looked like a low lying hill which then rose and began shambling toward a sizeable herd of goats. We had to stare some time before we could recognise a shape bearing some human resemblance in that moving mountain. Its eye made it possible to place the other features, and yet it only had a single, round ocularity in the middle of its forehead.

After we had made our way to shore, with trepidation we managed to find the cave of one of these creatures I later learned were Cyclops. Everything was of course built large: the chairs were large, the tables were large, even the cutlery was large, and it felt like re-entering the nursery to wander into that lair. In one corner were pens in which sheep were kept, in another were jars filled with the milk of ewes and a drying rack sagging with cheeses.

My crew rather vociferously suggested that we take lambs and cheese, then hasten back to the ships. I on the other hand wished to engage with the Cyclops. I still carried some guilt of our actions against the Kikones.


The Polyphagous Polyphemos.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps