*Odysseus' Face*

I Get By with a Little Help from My Godsend

Eurylokhos wept while relating the story of his changed friends. It was indeed best that we had split up rather than meeting this new danger as a group. Yet, I still felt regret at my own cowardice. Nothing for it then, but to buckle on my sword, take up bow and arrows, and do what I could to regain my crew members.

Eurylokhos cried out in dread, begging me to reconsider. Surely it would be better to simply count our losses and move on before we were all turned into swine? His nerve had clearly been shattered. I reassured him that he could remain with the ships and directed others to feed him a good meal. Nevertheless, I was going on to rescue the others. They were, afterall, my responsibility.

I immediately set off into the woods and toward the center of the island. I had gone only a little way into the shady verdure when a golden opalescent mist rolled across the path before me. In a few moments the mist was gone, but an adolescent appeared leaning against a tree. Phe held a golden staff which phe casually spun between pers fingers. It is not always easy to recognise divine visitation, but any character appearing from a mist and carrying a caduceus is likely to be the deity Hermes.

As I came closer I could hear per singing:

Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands;
Curtsied when you have and kiss'd,
The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there,
And, sweet deities, the burden bear.

Hermes then turned pers eyes to me and spoke, "Good morning, Odysseus. Open-eyed conspiracy takes pers time. If you keep a care of your life, then beware. Your friends are all under lock and key in Kirke's sty. Should you go alone unaided to pers court, you shall surely hog all of pers attention and never more look upon the shores of home.

"But stay, I can see to it that you shall visit Kirke unchanged and disenchant that unruly crew of yours. I know where grows a potent herb.

Follow me, I'll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier;
Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
I will show you where lies this medicinal flower,
And pluck it for you, for such is beyond mortal power.

"Wear it about your neck unseen. Kirke will attempt to drug you with a poisoned draught, but you will drink nothing but purest ale under the protection of this plant. Then phe will try to drive you into pers pens with a rod. You must then unsheath your sword and threaten per, swift death shining brightly on its edge. Kirke will offer pers bed and you had best accept. Between fear and lust, you shall be able to extract a promise that phe will release your friends into their true form and refrain from trickery."

Without further ado I followed Hermes to where the herb lay. Phe placed some within a bag and laid it around my neck. Thus prepared, Hermes took pers leave on to Olympos. I continued in search of Kirke and my people.


Turn Me Loose.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps