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Odysseus at King Alcinous

When Navsikaya returned to the palace, her brothers came out to meet her, they unharnessed the mules from the wagon and brought a basket of clothes into the palace. Nausicaa went to her chambers; there a rich supper was prepared for her by her slave nurse Eurymedusa.

Odysseus, after waiting a little at the city gates, he went into the city. The goddess Athena surrounded him with a dark cloud and made him invisible so that one of the Phaeacians would not offend the hero. At the gates of the city, the goddess Pallas Athena herself appeared to him under the guise of a Theakian maiden, and when Odysseus turned to her with a request to show him the palace Alkinoy, Athena agreed to see him off , advising not to ask questions to the counter, as the Phaeacians, according to her, are not hospitable. Silently followed the goddess Odysseus. He was surprised by the wealth of the city, the pier with a number of ships, the vast city square and the impregnable walls of the city.

Finally, they came to the palace of Alcinous. Leaving Odysseus, the goddess once again, like Nausicaa, advised him to pray first of all to the queen Arete. Having given these advice, Athena left.

If Odysseus was struck by the wealth of the city, then he was even more amazed by the wealth of the palace of Alcinous. All of shining copper was the palace. At the top, the walls were decorated with iron. A door cast of pure gold led to the palace, the lintels were of silver, and the threshold was copper. At the door stood two living immortal dogs, forged by the god himself Hephaestus, one gold, the other silver. Odysseus entered the palace. There, on the walls, he saw richly decorated benches covered with precious veils. On stands stood statues of young men cast in gold with torches in their hands. Diven was the palace of Alcinous. But the most wonderful thing was the garden, located at the palace. All kinds of fruits were always ripening in it, both in winter and in summer. Warm Zephyr was blowing around the garden. There was also a vineyard that produced ripe grapes all year round. A bright spring gurgled in the garden, while another spring gushed at the very threshold of the palace. Odysseus marveled at everything for a long time; at last he entered the banqueting hall; there sat Alkinoi, Areta, and the noblest Phaeacians. They made a libation to the god Hermes with fragrant wine. Covered with a cloud, Odysseus approached Arete and fell at her feet. At that moment, Athena scattered the cloud, and everyone saw the great hero. Everyone was dumbfounded. Odysseus loudly prayed to the queen to help him, the unfortunate wanderer. Having expressed his prayer, Odysseus departed and, as if asking for protection, sat down on the ashes by the hearth. On the advice of one of the Phaeacians, the oldest of all, Alcinous took Odysseus by the hand and seated him next to him. Servants served food and wine to Odysseus, and all those present made a libation in honor of the protector of the wanderers, the Thunderer Zeus. Alkinoy invited everyone who had gathered the next day to his place to honor the stranger with a rich feast, since Alkinoy thought that one of the gods had visited him under the guise of a mortal. But Odysseus dissuaded Alcinous. He told the king how many troubles he had endured on his journey from the island of the nymph Calypso, and he also told how the princess Nausicaa, whom he met on the seashore, helped him. He listened with great attention to Alcinous Odysseus and, amazed by his wisdom, exclaimed:

- Oh, bright gods of Olympus! If you would give Nausicaa a man like this foreigner, I would give him great wealth as a dowry! But you, stranger, we will not keep against your will on our island. We will take you home. The Phaeacians fear no way by sea, no matter how far it is!

But it was too late, the feast was over. Queen Areta ordered to prepare a bed for Odysseus, and he soon fell into a deep sleep. The whole palace of Alcinous fell into a dream.

The next morning, Alkinoi ordered all the Phaeacians to gather for advice in order to decide how to deliver Odysseus to his homeland. Pallas Athena herself walked around the city, calling under the guise of a herald to the citizens' square. He brought Alkina and Odysseus to the square and seated him next to him. Soon all the people gathered. The Phaeacians looked at the hero with surprise. Pallas Athena endowed him with inexpressible beauty and grandeur. Tsar Alkina addressed the audience and said to them:

- Listen, citizens! A stranger came to us, he prays that we help him return to his homeland. We have never refused to help foreigners. We will equip the ship, we will take our guest home. I invite everyone who sets sail to my feast, and I invite all the elders. In my palace we will honor the stranger with a rich feast. Let the singer Demodok be invited to the feast, so that he will amuse the guests with his marvelous singing.

Alkinoy said so. Immediately fifty-two rowers went to prepare the ship for sailing. Yet the elders followed Alcinous to his palace. The king's servants prepared a rich feast, slaughtering for himtwo bulls, twelve sheep and eight pigs. The servant Alcinous brought the blind singer Demodocus to the feast. The guests sat down at the table, and a merry lyre began. When everyone was full, Demodocus took his cithara, which hung on a nail above his head, struck the ringing strings and sang about how the two great heroes Odysseus and Achilles during a solemn feast. Odysseus heard this song, sad memories flooded him, tears rolled from his eyes. So that the Theacians would not see his tears, he covered his head with a purple mantle. Finished this song Demodoc. Odysseus wiped away his tears and, taking a golden goblet in his hands, made a libation in honor of the immortal gods. Demodocus sang again about the exploits of the heroes near Troy, and Odysseus wept again. No one paid attention to his tears, only Tsar Alkina thought about why the stranger was shedding tears, and he understood the reason for these tears. When the guests were satisfied, Alkinoy invited them all to go to the square and take part in the games there. Everyone followed the king, next to him was the hero Odysseus. The Phaeacian youths began to compete in various exercises: in fast running, wrestling, jumping, fisticuffs and discus throwing. When the competition was already over, the beautiful mighty Eurial approached the son of King Alcinous, Laodam , surpassing all in beauty, and invited him to invite to participate in the competition and a stranger who looks so powerful. At first, the handsome Laodam hesitated, then he approached Odysseus and kindly invited him to take part in the games. But Odysseus refused - he was depressed by sadness in his homeland. Euryalus heard the refusal of Odysseus and said with a grin:

- Wanderer! I see that you cannot, of course, equal the mighty young athletes. You are probably one of the merchants who, going around the seas, are engaged only in trade.

Odysseus frowned menacingly and answered Euryalus:

- You said a hurtful word, Euryalus! I see from you that the gods do not endow man with everything. So they endowed you with beauty, but they did not give you wisdom. You insulted me with your speech, but know that I am experienced in competition. I participated in many battles, suffered a lot of grief, experienced many dangers, I lost a lot of strength, but still I will test my strength.

Having said this, Odysseus grabbed a huge stone and threw it with a mighty hand. With a whistle a stone swept over the heads of the Phaeacians. They bent down so that the stone would not touch them, but it flew through the whole crowd and fell as far as no young man could have thrown even a discus, although the discs were much lighter than a stone. Taking the form of a Phaeacian elder, the goddess Athena marked the place where the stone fell, and said that the stone was thrown as far as not a single Phaeacian would throw, no matter how powerful he was. Then the delighted Odysseus exclaimed:

- Theakian youths! Throw the disk as far as I threw the stone! If you throw as far as my stone, then I will throw another, perhaps even further than the first. I challenge you all to a fist fight, wrestling and running. With only one Laodam I will not fight. I will not raise my hand against the one in whose house I am received as a guest.

Tsar Alcinus answered Odysseus:

- Stranger, I see that only the mockery of the impudent Euryalus made you challenge all the participants in the games to fight in order to show us all your great strength. In everything, perhaps, you will surpass us, but only not in fast running, since the gods granted the Phaeacians invincibility in running, and even made them the first sailors in the world. We all, moreover, love singing, music, cheerful dancing and the luxury of feasts. Now the most skilful young men in dancing will be called here, and you will be convinced that we are not without reason proud of this art.

He commanded Alkina to bring a cithara to the singer Demodocus. The servant immediately carried out his order. Demodocus took the kithara from the hand of the servant, struck the golden strings and sang a cheerful song. Under his singing, young men whirled in a light dance. Odysseus looked at them with delight and marveled at the beauty of their movements. When the dance of the young men was over, Tsar Alkina ordered all the elders to present Odysseus with a luxurious robe and a talent of gold as a gift. Euryalus, in addition, had to honor Odysseus with a special gift for the insult inflicted on him. Euryalus immediately took off his precious sword, gave it to Odysseus and said:

- Oh, stranger! If I said a word offensive to you, then let the wind dispel it. Forget about him! May the gods send you a happy return to your homeland, so that you can soon see your wife and your whole family.

- May the gods protect you too, Euryalus! - answered Odysseus, - never repent that you gave me a sword, atoning for the offense inflicted on me with this gift.

But the sun was already setting, and everyone hurried to the palace of King Alcinous. There, Odysseus went to the rest provided to him by Alcinous, put all the gifts brought to him in a luxurious box sent to him by Areta, and, tying it with a rope, tied the ends with a skillful knot, which taught him Kirk. Dressed in magnificent clothes, Odysseus went to the banquet hall. met therehe is Nausicaa. The princess turned to him with words in which the sadness of separation sounded:

- A beautiful foreigner! Soon you will return to your homeland, remember me there. After all, you owe your salvation to me.

- Oh, beautiful Nausicaa! Odysseus answered her, “if Zeus the Thunderer allows me to return safely to my homeland, then every day, like a goddess, I will pray to you for saving me.

Having said this, Odysseus sat next to Alcinous, and a merry feast began. During the feast, Odysseus asked Demodocus to sing a song about a wooden horse built by the Greeks near Troy. Demodocus sang, and Odysseus again began to shed bitter tears. Seeing the tears of a stranger, Alkina interrupted the singing of Demodocus and asked why the stranger sheds tears every time he hears a song about the exploits of the heroes near Troy. He asked the stranger to tell him who he was, who his father and mother were. Alkina promised to take him to his homeland, whoever he was. He gave his word to fulfill his promise, although he knew that the god of the seas Poseidon threatened to punish the Theacians for taking wanderers home against his will. Poseidon threatened the Phaeacians that someday he would turn the ship that took the wanderer home into a rock, and he would close the city forever with a high mountain! Alkina knew this, but nevertheless decided to deliver Odysseus to his homeland. Now Alkina wanted to know who this stranger was who was sitting next to him; therefore he asked Odysseus to tell him who he was and to tell about all the adventures that he had to experience.

- King of Alkina, - Odysseus answered him, - you want to know about all the disasters that I had to experience, you also want to know who I am, where I come from, who my father is. Know that I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, king of the island of Ithaca. You already know what I experienced when I left the island of the nymph Calypso. Now I will tell you about all my other adventures that fell to my lot when I sailed from Troy. Listen!

Thus said Odysseus and began the story of his adventures.