The Runes of Ire (The Mathemagicians of Yore Book 1)

The Runes of Ire (The Mathemagicians of Yore Book 1)

Soon after, a javelin strikes Agamemnon, and Hector, seeing him borne to his tent, urges his men on with new vehemence until he forces back the Greeks in his turn. In the ensuing medley both Diomedes and Ulysses are wounded, and Achilles, moodily lounging on the prow of his ship, sees Nestor bring them into camp. Wishing to ascertain who has been hurt, he sends Patroclus to find out. Thus this warrior learns how many of the Greeks are wounded, and is persuaded to try to induce Achilles to assist their countrymen, or at least to allow his friend to lead his forces to their rescue.

Although the Trojans are now fiercely trying to enter the Greek camp, their efforts are baffled until Hector, dismounting from his chariot, attacks the mighty wall which the gods are to level as soon as the war is over.

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Thanks to his efforts, its gates are battered in, and the Trojans pour into the Greek camp, where many duels occur, and where countless warriors are slain on both sides. Having effected an entrance into the camp, the Trojans rush forward to set fire to the ships, hoping thus to prevent the escape of their foes.

Perceiving the peril of the Greeks, Neptune, in the guise of a priest, urges them to stand fast. In the midst of the gloom caused by a new irruption of the Trojans in the Greek camp, Nestor hastens to the spot where the wounded Agamemnon, Ulysses, and Diomedes are watching the fight. But, although Agamemnon renews his former suggestion that they depart, Diomedes and Ulysses, scorning it, prepare to return to the fray, in spite of their wounds.

This renewal of Greek courage pleases Juno, who, fearing Jupiter will again interfere in behalf of the Trojans, proceeds by coquettish wiles and with the aid of the God of Sleep to lull him into a state of forgetfulness. This feat accomplished, Juno sends Sleep to urge the Greeks to make the most of this respite, and, thus stimulated, they fight on, until Ajax hurls a rock which lays Hector low.

But, before he and his companions can secure this victim, Hector is rescued by his men, who speedily convey him to the river, where plentiful bathing soon restores his senses. Thus temporarily deprived of a leader, the Trojans fall back to the place where they left their chariots. Hearing her attribute the blame to Neptune, Jupiter wrathfully orders his brother back to his realm and despatches Apollo to cure Hector.

Once more the Trojans drive back the Greeks, who would have given up in despair had not Jupiter encouraged them by a clap of thunder. But, in spite of his skill, and although Ajax fights like a lion at bay, Hector and the Trojans press fiercely forward, torch in hand, to fire the Greek ships. Appalled by this sight, Patroclus rushes back to Achilles, and, after vainly urging him to fight, persuades him to lend him his armor, chariot, and men.

It is just as the first vessels are enveloped in flames that Patroclus rushes to the rescue of his countrymen. At the sight of a warrior whom they mistake for Achilles, and at this influx of fresh troops, the Trojans beat a retreat, and the Greeks, fired with new courage, pursue them across the plain and to the very gates of Troy. Knowing this fight will prove fatal to Page 14 his beloved son, Jupiter causes a bloody dew to fall upon earth, and despatches Sleep and Death to take charge of his remains, which they are to convey first to Olympus to receive a fatherly kiss and then to Lycia for burial.

No sooner is Sarpedon slain than a grim fight ensues over his spoil and remains, but while the Greeks secure his armor, his corpse is borne away by Apollo, who, after purifying it from all battle soil, entrusts it to Sleep and Death. Meantime, renewing his pursuit of the Trojans, Patroclus is about to scale the walls of Troy, when Apollo reminds him the city is not to fall a prey either to him or to his friend. The dying Patroclus, therefore, declares that had not the gods betrayed him he would have triumphed, and predicts that Achilles will avenge his death.

Rising from the depths of the sea, she hurries to his side, regretting his brief life should be marred by so much sorrow. Then, hearing him swear to avenge his friend, she entreats him to wait until the morrow, so she can procure him armor from Vulcan. Having obtained this promise, she hastens off to visit the god and bespeak his aid in behalf of her son. Having unharnessed their steeds, the Trojans assemble to consider whether it will not be best to retreat within their walls, for they know Achilles will appear on the morrow to avenge Patroclus.

Not only does Vulcan consent, but hurries off to his anvil, where he and Cyclops labor to such good purpose that a superb suit of armor is ready by dawn. Pleased to think the Greeks will have the help of this champion, Agamemnon humbly apologizes for the past, proffering gifts and a feast, which latter Achilles refuses to attend as long as Patroclus is unavenged. Before entering into battle, however, our hero implores his divine steeds to do their best, only to be warned by one of them that, although they will save him to-day, the time is fast coming when he too will fall victim to the anger of the gods.

Undaunted by this prophecy, Achilles jumps into his chariot and sets out for the fray, uttering his blood-curdling war-cry. Portents and prodigies are lost on me. I know my fate: The gods, assembled on Mount Olympus, are told by Jupiter that, whereas he intends merely to witness the fight, they may all take part in it, provided they remember Achilles is to reap the main honors of the day. Hearing this, the gods dart off to side with Troy and Greece, as their inclinations prompt, and thus take an active part in the battle, for which Jupiter gives the signal by launching a thunder-bolt.

Not only do the gods fight against each other on this day, but use all their efforts to second their favorites in every way. Before long, however, it becomes so evident they are merely delaying the inevitable issue, that they agree to withdraw from the field, leaving mortals to settle the matter themselves. There are vivid descriptions of sundry encounters, including one between Achilles and Aeneas, wherein both heroes indulge in boastful speeches before coming to blows. At one time, when Aeneas is about to get the worst of it, the gods, knowing he is reserved for greater things, snatch him from the battle-field and convey him to a place of safety.

Hearing Achilles refuse mercy to a young Trojan, and enraged because he has choked his bed with corpses, the River God suddenly rises to chide him, but Achilles is now in so defiant a mood that he is ready to fight even the gods themselves. In spite of his courage he would, however, have been drowned, had not Neptune and Minerva come to his rescue, fighting the waters with fire, and assuring him Hector will soon lie lifeless at his feet. To facilitate this move, Apollo assumes the guise of Hector and decoys Achilles away from the gates until the bulk of the Trojan army is safe.

Meantime the real Hector is stationed beside the gate, and Achilles, suddenly perceiving he has been pursuing a mere phantom, darts with a cry of wrath toward his foe.

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But Achilles refuses to listen to terms, and in the course of the ensuing duel is ably seconded by Minerva, while Hector, who depends upon his supposed brother to supply him with weapons when his fail, is basely deserted by Apollo. Seeing him disarmed, Achilles finally deals him a deadly blow, and, although the dying hero tries to abate his resentment, loudly proclaims he shall be a prey to vultures and wolves.

Hearing this, Hector curses his conqueror and dies, predicting Achilles shall be slain by Paris. Arriving there just in time to see her husband dragged away, she faints at the pitiful sight, and, on coming back to her senses, bewails her sad fate, foresees an unhappy fate for her infant son, and regrets not being able to bury her beloved husband. In describing the building and lighting of the pyre, the poet relates how the flames were fanned by opposite winds, depicts the sacrifices offered, the funeral games celebrated, and explains how the ashes were finally placed in an urn, where those of Achilles were in time to mingle with those of his friend.

Still guided by Iris, Priam conveys the body of his son back to Troy, where his mother, wife, and the other Trojan women utter a touching lament. After the opening invocation he proceeds to relate the adventures of Ulysses. After some mention of the fate of the other Greeks, Jupiter decrees that Ulysses shall return to Ithaca, where many suitors are besieging his wife Penelope.

Here she is hospitably received, and, after some conversation, urges Telemachus to visit the courts of Nestor and Menelaus to inquire of these kings whether his father is dead. These sad strains attract Penelope, who passionately beseeches the bard not to enhance her sorrows by his songs! Assuming a tone of authority for the first time, Telemachus bids his mother retire and pray, then, addressing the suitors, vows that unless they depart he will call down upon them the vengeance of the gods.

These words are resented by these men, who continue their revelry until the night, when Telemachus retires, to dream of his projected journey. In reply to his denunciations the suitors accuse Penelope of deluding them, instancing how she promised to choose a husband as soon as she had finished weaving a winding sheet for her father-in-law Laertes. But, instead of completing this task as soon as possible, she ravelled by night the work done during the day, until the suitors discovered the trick. The fourth, her maid unfolds the amazing tale. They now suggest that Telemachus send Penelope back to her father, but the youth indignantly refuses, and the council closes while he prays for vengeance.

That he has not been unheard is proved by the appearance of two eagles, which peck out the eyes of some of the spectators. The assembly having dispersed, Telemachus hastens down to the shore, where Minerva visits him in the guise of his tutor Mentor, and instructs him to arrange for secret departure. Telemachus, therefore, returns to the palace, where the suitors are preparing a new feast.

Refusing to join their revels, he seeks his old nurse Eurycleia, to whom he entrusts the provisioning of his vessel, bidding her if possible conceal his departure from Penelope for twelve days. Meantime, in the guise of Telemachus, Minerva scours the town to secure skilful oarsmen, and at sunset has a vessel ready to sail.

Then, returning to the palace, she enchains the senses of the suitors in such deep slumber that Telemachus effects his, departure unseen, and embarking with Mentor sets sail, his vessel speeding smoothly over the waves all night. At sunrise Telemachus reaches Pylos and finds Nestor and his friends offering a sacrifice on the shore. He adds that, the gods having decreed they should not reach home without sore trials, half the army lingered behind with Agamemnon to offer propitiatory sacrifices, while the rest sailed on.

Among these were Nestor and Ulysses, but, while the former pressed on and reached home, the latter, turning back to pacify the gods, was seen no more! Since his return, Nestor has been saddened by the death of Agamemnon, slain on his arrival at Mycenae by his faithless wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegistheus. His brother, Menelaus, more fortunate, has recently reached home, having been long delayed in Egypt by contrary winds.

While Nestor recounts these tales, day declines, so he invites Telemachus to his palace for the night, promising to send him on the morrow to Sparta, where he can question Menelaus himself. Although Mentor urges Telemachus to accept this invitation, he declares he must return to the ship, and vanishes in the shape of a bird, thus revealing to all present his divine origin.

A sumptuous meal in the palace ensues, and the guest, after a good night, participates at break of day in a solemn sacrifice. On learning that strangers have arrived, Menelaus orders every attention shown them, and only after they have been refreshed by food and drink, inquires their errand. He states that he himself reached home only after wandering seven years, and adds that he often yearns to know what has become of Ulysses.

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When Telemachus admits his identity, Menelaus and Helen mingle their tears with his, for the memory of the past overwhelms them with sorrow. She next relates how Ulysses once entered Troy in the guise of a beggar, and how she alone recognized him in spite of his disguise. This reminds Menelaus of the time when Ulysses restrained him and the other Greeks in the wooden horse, and when Helen marched around it mimicking the voices of their wives! The sea-god had further promised that Menelaus should never die, stating that, as husband of Helen and son-in-law of Jupiter, he would enjoy everlasting bliss in the Elysian Fields.

Then, after describing the sacrifices which insured his return to Sparta, Menelaus invites Telemachus to tarry with him, although the youth insists he must return home. This plot is overheard by a servant, who hastens to report it to Penelope. But, during the sleep which overcomes Penelope after her prayers, she is favored by a vision, in which her sister assures her Telemachus will soon be restored to her arms, although she refuses to give her any information in regard to Ulysses.

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Aurora has barely announced the return of day to gods and men, when Jupiter assembles his council on Mount Olympus. In reply Jupiter sends Mercury to bid Calypso provide her unwilling guest with the means to leave her shores. Finding him gazing tearfully in the direction of home, she promises to supply him with the means to build a raft which, thanks to the gods, will enable him to reach Ithaca.

For seventeen days the stars serve as his guides, and he is nearing the island of Phaeacia, when Neptune becomes aware that his hated foe is about to escape. While Ulysses is thus sleeping, Minerva, in a dream admonishes Nausicaa, daughter of the Phaeacian king, to wash her garments in readiness for her wedding.

On awakening, the princess, after bespeaking a chariot with mules to draw the clothes to the washing place, departs with her maids for the shore. The clothes washed and hung out to dry, the princess and her attendants play ball, until their loud shrieks awaken Ulysses. Veiling his nakedness behind leafy branches, he timidly approaches the maidens, and addresses them from afar.

Convinced he is, as he represents, a shipwrecked man in need of aid, the princess provides him with garments, and directs him to follow her chariot to the confines of the city. There he is to wait until she has reached home before presenting himself before her parents, as she does not wish his presence with her to cause gossip in town.

Having left Ulysses behind her, Nausicaa returns home, where her chariot is unloaded; but shortly after she has retired, Ulysses, guided by Minerva in disguise, enters the town and palace unseen. King and queen gladly promise their protection to the suppliant, who, while partaking of food, describes himself as a shipwrecked mariner and asks to be sent home. Then she and her husband promise the wanderer their protection before retiring to rest.

At daybreak the king conducts his guest to the public square, where Minerva has summoned all the inhabitants. To this assembly Alcinous makes known that a nameless stranger bespeaks their aid, and proposes that after a banquet, where blind Demodocus will entertain them with his songs, they load the suppliant with gifts and send him home. The projected festive meal is well under way when the bard begins singing of a quarrel between Ulysses and Achilles, strains which so vividly recall happier days that Ulysses, drawing his cloak over his head, gives way to tears.

Noting this emotion, Alcinous checks the bard and proposes games. After displaying their skill in racing, wrestling, discus-throwing, etc. Stung by their covert taunts, the stranger casts the discus far beyond their best mark, and avers that although out of practice he is not afraid to match them in feats of strength, admitting, however, that he cannot compete with them in fleetness of foot or in the dance. All the Phaeacians now present gifts to the stranger, who finds himself rich indeed, but who assures Nausicaa he will never forget she was the first to lend him aid.

Toward the close of the festivities the blind bard sings of the wooden horse devised by Ulysses and abandoned on the shore by the retreating Greeks. Then he describes its triumphant entry into Troy, where for the first time in ten years all sleep soundly without dread of a surprise. But, while the too confident Trojans are thus resting peacefully upon their laurels, the Greeks, emerging from this wooden horse, open the gates to their comrades, and the sack of Troy begins!

Because the stranger guest again shows great emotion, Alcinous begs him to relate his adventures and asks whether he has lost some relative in the war of Troy? Thus invited to speak, Ulysses, after introducing himself and describing his island home, relates how, the ruin of Troy completed, he and his men left the Trojan shores. Driven by winds to Ismarus, they sacked the town, but, instead of sailing off immediately with their booty as Ulysses urged, tarried there until surprised by their foes, from whom they were glad to escape with their lives!

Tossed by a tempest for many days, the Greek ships next neared the land of the Lotus-Eaters, people who feasted upon the buds and blossoms of a narcotic lotus. Sending three men ashore to reconnoitre, Ulysses vainly awaited their return; finally, mistrusting what had happened, he went in quest of them himself, only to find that having partaken of the lotus they were dead to the calls of home and ambition.

Seizing these men, Ulysses conveyed them bound to his ship, and, without allowing the rest to land, sailed hastily away from those pernicious shores. Before long he came to the land of the Cyclops, and disembarked on a small neighboring island to renew his stock of food and water. Then, unwilling to depart without having at least visited the Cyclops, he took twelve of his bravest men, a skin-bottle full of delicious wine, and set out to find Polyphemus, chief of the Cyclops. Before long a huge one-eyed monster drove in his flocks, and, after closing the opening of his cave with a rock which no one else could move, proceeded to milk his ewes and make cheese.

It was only while at supper that he noticed Ulysses and his men, who humbly approached him as suppliants. Although sorely tempted to slay him while he was thus at their mercy, Ulysses refrained, knowing he and his companions would never be able to move the rock.

Then he easily rolled aside the rock, which he replaced when he and his flock had gone out for the day, thus imprisoning Ulysses and his eight surviving men. During that long day Ulysses sharpened to a point a young pine, and, after hardening this weapon in the fire, secured by lot the helpers he needed to execute his plan.

That evening Polyphemus, having Page 24 finished his chores and cannibal repast, graciously accepted the wine which Ulysses offered him. Pleased with its taste, he even promised the giver a reward if he would only state his name. The wily Ulysses declaring he was called Noman, the giant facetiously promised to eat him last, before he fell into a drunken sleep. Then Ulysses and his four men, heating the pointed pine, bored out the eye of Polyphemus, who howled with pain: His fellow-Cyclops, awakened by his cries, gathered without his cave, asking what was the matter.

But, hearing him vehemently howl that Noman was hurting him, they all declared he was evidently being punished by the gods and left him to his plight! When morning came, the groaning Cyclops rolled aside the rock, standing beside it with arms outstretched to catch his prisoners should they attempt to escape. Seeing this, Ulysses tied his men under the sheep, and, clinging to the fleece of the biggest ram, had himself dragged out of the cave.

Passing his hand over the backs of the sheep to make sure the strangers were not riding on them, Polyphemus recognized by touch his favorite ram, and feelingly ascribed its slow pace to sympathy with his woes. He and his companions were scudding safely past the headland where blind Polyphemus idly sat, when Ulysses tauntingly raised his voice to make known his escape and real name. With a cry of rage, the giant flung huge masses of rock in the direction of his voice, hotly vowing his father Neptune would yet avenge his wrongs!

After leaving the island of the Cyclops, Ulysses visited Aeolus, king of the winds, and was hospitably entertained in his cave. In token of friendship and to enable Ulysses to reach home quickly, Aeolus bottled up all the contrary winds, letting loose only those which would speed him on his way. On leaving Aeolus, Ulysses so carefully guarded the skin bottle containing the adverse gales that his men fancied it must contain jewels of great price. For nine days and nights Ulysses guided the rudder, and only when the shores of Ithaca came in sight closed his eyes in sleep.

On seeing them return with tattered sails, Aeolus averred they had incurred the wrath of some god and therefore drove them away from his realm. Toiling at the oar, they reached, after seven days, the harbor of the Laestrigonians, cannibal giants, from whose clutches only a few ships escaped. Sorrowing for their lost friends, the Greeks next landed in the island of Circe, where Ulysses remained with half his men by the ships, while the rest set out to renew their supplies. This party soon discovered the abode of the enchantress Circe, who, aware of their approach, had prepared a banquet and a magic drug.

Enticed by her sweet voice, all the men save one sat down to her banquet, and ate so greedily that the enchantress, contemptuously waving her wand over them, bade them assume the forms of the animals they most resembled!

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A moment later a herd of grunting pigs surrounded her, pigs which, however, retained a distressing consciousness of their former human estate. This dire transformation was viewed with horror by the man lurking outside, who fled back to the ships, imploring Ulysses to depart. The terrified Circe not only complied, but detained Ulysses and his companions with her a full year. As at the end of that time the men pleaded to return home, Ulysses told his hostess he must leave. Then she informed him he must first visit the Cimmerian shore and consult the shade of the blind seer Tiresias.

The prospect of such a journey greatly alarmed Ulysses, but when Circe had told him just how to proceed, he bravely set out. After this had been accomplished, Ulysses was to resume his wanderings until he came to a land where the oar he carried would be mistaken for a winnowing fan. There he was to offer a propitiatory sacrifice to Neptune, after which he would live to serene old age and die peacefully among his own people. This account had been heard with breathless interest by the Phaeacians, whose king now implored Ulysses to go on.

Ulysses next beheld Achilles, who, although ruler of the dead, bitterly declared he would rather be the meanest laborer on earth than monarch among shades!

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To comfort him, Ulysses described how bravely his son had fought at the taking of Troy, where he had been one of the men in the wooden horse. The only shade which refused to approach Ulysses was that of Ajax, who still resented his having won the armor of Achilles. Besides these shades, Ulysses beheld the judges of Hades and the famous culprits of Tartarus.

Circe consented, warning him to beware of the Sirens, of the threatening rocks, of the monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis on either side of the Messenian Strait, and of the cattle of Trinacria, giving him minute directions how to escape unharmed from all these perils. Morning having come, Ulysses took leave of Circe, and, on nearing the reef of the Sirens, directed his men to bind him fast to the mast, paying no heed to his gestures, after he had stopped their ears with soft wax.

Not daring describe to his companions the threatened horrors of Charybdis and Scylla, Ulysses bade his steersman avoid the whirlpool, and, fully armed, prepared to brave the monster Scylla. But, notwithstanding his preparations, she snatched from his galley six men who were seen no more! Although reluctant to land on Trinacria for fear his sailors would steal the cattle of the Sun, Ulysses was constrained to do so to allow them to rest. While they were there, unfavorable winds began to blow, and continued so long that the Greeks consumed all their provisions, and, in spite of their efforts to supply their larder by hunting and fishing, began to suffer from hunger.

Undeterred by such miracles, the men feasted, but, on embarking six days later, they were overtaken by a tempest in which all perished save Ulysses. Clinging to the mast of his wrecked ship, he drifted between Charybdis and Scylla, escaping from the whirlpool only by clinging to the branches at an overhanging fig-tree. Then, tossed by the waves for nine days longer, Ulysses was finally cast on the isle of Ogygia, whence he had come directly to Phaeacia as already described. Then, while he slept in the prow, the skilful Phaeacian rowers entered a sheltered Ithacan bay, where they set sleeper and gifts ashore and departed without awaiting thanks.

They were about to re-enter their own port when Neptune, discovering they had taken his enemy home, struck their vessel with his trident, thus transforming it into the galley-shaped rock still seen there to-day. Meantime Ulysses, awakening, hid his treasures away in a cave. She then reported the insolence of the suitors lying in wait to murder Telemachus at his return, and suggested that Ulysses, in the guise of an aged beggar, should visit his faithful swineherd until time to make his presence known.

Transformed by Minerva into a sordid mendicant, Ulysses next visits the swineherd, who sets before him the best he has, complaining that the greedy suitors deplete his herds. This old servant is comforted when the beggar assures him his master will soon return and reports having seen him lately. The swineherd is preparing breakfast, when Ulysses warns him a friend is coming, for his dogs fawn upon the stranger and do not bark.

A moment later Telemachus enters the hut, and is warmly welcomed by his servant, who wishes him to occupy the place of honor at his table. But Telemachus modestly declines it in favor of the aged stranger, to whom he promises clothes and protection as soon as he is master in his own house. Then he bids the swineherd notify his mother of his safe arrival, directing her to send word to Laertes of his return. This man has no sooner gone than Minerva restores Ulysses to more than his wonted vigor and good looks, bidding him make himself known to his son and concert with him how to dispose of the suitors.

Amazed to see the beggar transformed into an imposing warrior, Telemachus is overjoyed to learn who he really is.

Meantime, having delivered his message to his mistress, the swineherd returns to his hut, where he spends the evening with Telemachus and the beggar, little suspecting the latter is his master. At daybreak Telemachus hastens back to the palace, whither the swineherd is to guide the stranger later in the day, and is rapturously embraced by his mother.

After a brief interview, Telemachus sends her back to her apartment to efface the trace of her tears, adding that he is on his way to the market-place to meet a travelling companion whom he wishes to entertain. After welcoming this man with due hospitality, Telemachus gives his mother an account of his trip. But as he enters the court-yard, his favorite hunting dog expires for joy on recognizing him. Humbly making the rounds of the tables like the beggar he seems, Ulysses is treated kindly by Telemachus, but grossly insulted by the suitors, one of whom, Antinous, actually flings a stool at him.

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Such a violation of the rights of hospitality causes some commotion in the palace, and so rouses the indignation of Penelope that she expresses a wish to converse with the beggar, who may have heard of her absent spouse. Meantime Ulysses has also come into conflict with the town-beggar Irus , a lusty youth, who challenges him to fight. To his dismay, Ulysses displays such a set of muscles on laying aside his robe that the insolent challenger wishes to withdraw.

Then, in reply to their questions, Ulysses favors them with another of those tales which do far more honor to his imagination than to his veracity. Meantime Penelope indulges in a nap, during which Minerva restores all her youthful charms. She next remarks that she foresees she will soon have to choose a husband among the suitors present, as it is only too evident Ulysses is dead, and, under pretext of testing their generosity, induces them all to bestow upon her gifts, which she thriftily adds to her stores.

Beside themselves with joy at the prospect that their long wooing will soon be over, the suitors sing and dance, until Telemachus advises them to return home. The suitors having gone, Ulysses helps Telemachus remove all the weapons, while the faithful nurse mounts guard over the palace women. Secretly helped by Minerva, father and son accomplish their task, and are sitting before the fire when Penelope comes to ask the beggar to relate when and how he met Ulysses. This time the stranger gives so accurate a description of Ulysses, that Penelope, wishing to show him some kindness, summons the old nurse to bathe his feet.

Because she herself dozes while this homely task is being performed, she is not aware that the old nurse recognizes her master by a scar on his leg, and is cautioned by him not to make his presence known. Her nap ended, Penelope resumes her conversation with the beggar, telling him she has been favored by a dream portending the death of the suitors. Sleeping beneath the portico on the skins of the animals slain to feast the horde of suitors, Ulysses sees the maids slip out of the palace to join the suitors, who have wooed them surreptitiously.

Then he falls asleep and is visited by Minerva, who infuses new strength and courage in his veins. At dawn Ulysses is awakened by Telemachus, and soon after the house is once more invaded by the suitors, who with their own hands slay the animals provided for their food. Once more they display their malevolence by ill treating the beggar, and taunt Telemachus, who apparently pays no heed to their words. Armed with this weapon, and followed by handmaids bearing bow, string, and arrows, Penelope appears in the banquet-hall, where the suitors eagerly accept her challenge.

But, after Antinous has vainly striven to bend the bow, the others warily try sundry devices to ensure its pliancy. All gibes are silenced, however, when the beggar not only spans the bow, but sends his first arrow through the twelve rings. Another mark our arrow must attain. Wretch that he was, of unprophetic soul! And fate to numbers, by a single hand? He falls, and breathes his last. Gazing wildly around them for weapons or means of escape, these men discover how cleverly they have been trapped. One after another now falls beneath the arrows of Ulysses, who bids his son hasten to the storeroom and procure arms for them both as there are not arrows enough to dispose of his foes.

Then the doors are thrown open, and the faithless maids are compelled to remove the corpses and purify the room, before they are hanged! She decides, therefore, to go down and congratulate her son upon being rid of those who preyed upon his wealth. Hearing this, Ulysses suggests that all present purify themselves, don fresh garments, and partake of a feast, enlivened by the songs of their bard.

While he is attended by the old nurse, Minerva sheds upon him such grace that, when he reappears, looking like a god, he dares reproach Penelope for not recognizing him. Then, hearing her order that his bed be removed to the portico, he hotly demands who cut down the tree which formed one of its posts? Mindful of his office as conductor of souls to Hades, Mercury has meanwhile entered the palace of Ulysses, and, waving his wand, has summoned the spirits of the suitors, who, uttering plaintive cries, follow him down to the infernal regions.

To go in the draw, simply go to the website by the link above and on the contact page form write: What a great subject. I hope the kids love it. The Druids are such an interesting culture—they introduced Jurisprudence to Humanity, without which civilization could not have gone forward. What a great way to teach children about this subject. Wishing him lots of luck. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Visit with these tour hosts to learn more. Is the limit of human evolution still human?

That seemed impossible to me then. That was my first foray into writing. So I persisted and asked how his first book, The Runes of Ire come to be. Hey, what would that be about? I try not to break them all evidence to the contrary in the book. You will hear much more of him in the future.