*Odysseus' Face*

The Polyphagous Polyphemos

All too soon one of the mountainous monstrosities returned to this his home. He carefully sorted his sheep so that only the ewes entered, leaving the rams outside to fend for themselves. Then from the inside he rolled an enormous stone the size of two or more of our ships in front of the cave entrance. We were now trapped with this creature just as surely as if we were rabbits caught in a springe.

The Cyclops went about his chores: milking and feeding the sheep, putting a kettle on to boil, arranging a fresh vase of blooming trees and preparing a light (for him) evening repast. While dinner sat cooking he turned his attentions to building a fire to warm the musty place up for the night.

We all leapt back against the walls hoping not to be noticed. However, as the flames from the fire burned brighter and brighter, our shadows became obvious.

"Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of a Danaan," remarked the Cyclops. "Who is it that invades my home?"

My curiosity got the better of me and really what else could I do in this situation but speak up and engage in conversation with the giant? "We are Akhaians blown off course from Troy on our way home. We were a part of Agamemnon's armies and I am sure you must have heard of our exploits in that great war: what city we destroyed, what armies we decimated. We have just happened upon your gracious abode and ask that you treat us according to the deity-given customs of hospitality."

For a moment I heard a deep rumbling in the Cyclops' chest, perhaps a sarcastic chuckle, then he answered, "You must be some kind of ninny to think I give a fig about the rules of the deities. I am Polyphemos, one of Poseidon's sons. My parent was one of those who overthrew the Titans when they outstayed their welcome, and when the time comes I may do the same for the current pantheon." Polyphemos then had a look cross his face that I suppose would pass for crafty amongst his own. "So, what is your name and where does the ship you came in lay? Around the point or beached somewhere?"

"Oh, I'm called Myra Bit and we were shipwrecked before coming to your shore. You can find our boat scattered in a thousand discrete pieces across the waves.

"Then I would gainsay that you are salvage for a hungry Cyclops," said Polyphemos who then got up, grabbed two crew members, and threw them into a pot of stew with parsley and a number of potatoes. After his meal the Cyclops settled down to a good night's sleep.


Into Bits and Pieces.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps