Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Even more lavish sacrifices were made to the deities the following morning at first light. Nestor made offering of a gilt horned heifer, as promised, to Athena.

Telemakhe was bathed by Polykaste, Nestor's youngest daughter. Barely a teenager, she was still a playful lass. They left nearly as much water on the floor as in the bath when Telemakhe was through. Polykaste then oiled Telemakhe and helped her into fine gold embroidered clothing and a cloak. Telemakhe stood tall and graceful in her attire, like the image of a deity. She joined Nestor in his offerings and the feasting.

When the time came Nestor had the chariot brought out. It was a stunning piece of work: bronze wheel spokes, gold fixtures, intricate blue and purple images painted to form dioramas of the Pylos countryside. This was followed by two spirited mares being led to the chariot shaft. They tugged and stamped, excited to stretch their muscles and feel the wind racing them. Their long red tails and manes would flow behind them with liquid beauty.

"May I have the honour of joining you on this journey," asked Peisistratos with a deep bow.

"I assure you, the honour will be mine," replied Telemakhe in good form. "I trust that you will drive these mares with the same skill as your father, a renowned charioteer."

Peisistratos just smiled modestly and nodded. He left momentarily to hug his father and give his mother, Eurydike, a goodbye kiss. He rejoined Telemakhe and strode with her to the magnificent carriage. Sacks of fine provisions had been stowed inside. They stepped into the vehicle and waved farewell to king, queen, numerous brothers and sisters, and the people of Pylos.

The ride through the rich and blossoming fields, across streams and through groves was more beateous than depicted on the car. Telemakhe and Peisistratos enjoyed light conversation on the way. At sundown they pulled up to the home of a distant cousin of Peisistratos' for the night. The next day they started out on the final leg of their travels to the home of the red-haired king and his divinely lighted queen.


Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps