98 pages • 3 hours readBernard Evslin
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Calypso gives Ulysses a comfortable boat so he can sail to Ithaca. He sets out for home, but 17 days into his trip, Poseidon discovers Ulysses is still alive and sets a storm on him, breaking his ship and leaving him clinging desperately to a plank.
Suddenly someone joins him on the makeshift raft, a green-haired nymph wearing a green veil. Her name is Ino, and she hates Poseidon for harming her years earlier. Her veil cannot sink, and she loans it to Ulysses and bids him swim to a mountainous coast in the distance.
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Unsure if this is a trick, Ulysses decides to try the veil. He wraps himself in it and begins to swim. The cold, heavy water now is warm and buoyant, and he can swim “like a fish” (127). He shouts his thanks, swims for two days, and reaches the coast of a place called Phaeacia.
The coast is rocky, and his efforts to reach shore hurl him against the stones. Bleeding, hungry, and weak, he continues to swim along the coast until he finds a river outlet and, expending his last strength, swims upstream and collapses on the river’s edge.
By Bernard Evslin