Book 25 - Odysseus escapes the island
Blue shimmering waves washed up and down along long sand lines of Calypso’s island. A beautiful dawn was approaching, casting a pale blue sky across the horizon.Odysseus stared out onto the open sea, from where he stood on the sandbar it almost looked peaceful, almost. If it not be for the cold bodies of his shipmates lying at the bottom of the ocean floor. It has seemed like centuries since Odysseus laid eyes on Penelope, now he only can only see Calypso and her maids.
Calypso sauntered out of her lair and made her way to the gloom Odysseus.
“Where does your mind wander my dear?” She asks slowly, he shies away from the answer and Calypso reaches out. “Do not touch me you evil woman! I have been kept here for years and have not made any progress home towards Ithaca.” She frowns and tries to convince the upset man to come back to bed to lay with her, but he is not convinced.
“I demand to go home with guidance of the gods, now let me be.” Odysseus stated. Calypso agreed, but not before making a devious plan. The goddess replied, “I will make you a map to travel to the the center of this island, there you will find a crystal so pure it could cure evil. If you retrieve it, then I will allow you to leave, with Poseidon as your guide on the journey home.”
Calypso ordered her maids to get Odysseus supplies, while she composed a map. Dawn turns to mid noon and Odysseus is set, accompanied by a friendly salamander that never left his side and one of Calypso’s maids, Alala, daughter to Ares, god of war. The two set out on their journey with hope in mind to get to Ithaca.
With the help of the goddesses map, Odysseus and Alala began up a winding mountain in search for the stone. The path seemed to have gone on for hours with no end, until finally a light was shown. Out of the corner of a patch of bright green bushes a golden egg rolled out and landed at Odysseus's feet. Curiosity overtook him and reached for it, but as soon as he touched it a shock went through him. Through the bush another woman stepped out, Hera , wife of Zeus and goddess of women and marriage.
Awe took over Alala and she took to the ground, kissing the dirt before her feet. “Rise before me young girl. Get on your feet and acknowledge my presence.” All two mortals and one lone salamander stood and blessed the goddess. "You have reached a quarter of a way on your journey, congratulations, you are more clever than Calypso said. Now here our your gifts.” Hera then reaches into her bag and pulls out two other golden eggs.
One egg is placed into Alala’s hand, another smaller one placed in the petite palm of the salamander, while Odysseus picks up the one from the ground. All three stare curiously at the marvelous find. Hera then explains “These eggs are for your protection, keep them with you at all times on this quest. They can ward off the dead spirits that lurk in these caves, and if you face Medusa you must hold this egg with both hands and cover your face. If not, you are bound to see Hades soon after.”
Before any questions could be answered or asked, the goddess turned into shimmering light and vanished. Torment and confusion consumed the three. Odysseus looks up and states, “Who is Medusa?”. Grief washes over Alala’s face and she turns to answer, “She is the monster with snakes for hair, so evil that with one look into the eyes you can turn into stone. To never breath a single breath ever again. You must always cover your eyes or you risk turning to stone.”
Odysseus was not frightened then, for he had been through many troubles and was sure he could withstand this. As day turned to night the trio set down a camp to rest for the night and the big day ahead. Odysseus was restless, distraught over dreams of Telemachus, Penelope, and his homeland of Ithaca.
Dawn came quickly and the group set out on another hike, with the golden eggs sitting quietly in their pockets and slippery paw. Mountainous rocks came crashing down through the day, keeping Odysseus watchful. They suddenly wandered onto a path that only consisted of blue brick, thinking no harm, they wandered into a dimly lit cave. Rushes of freezing air swirled around the two, while the salamander crawled onto Odysseus elbow. The cave left an eerie feeling among their skin.
Suddenly the dead surround them they realize this is the cave Hera warned them about. Odysseus’s nightmares become a reality, Eurylochus and Polites are the first to appear. They grab and tug at Odysseus, pulling him to the ground. Soon the rest of the crew join them and encircle Odyssey. Whispered words of sorrow and anger are exchanged, “Odysseus! Why didn’t you save us? Odysseus!”
Alala comes to her senses and with great might pulls the big man off the cold stone floor and out of the cave, into open air and green grass. Terrified Odysseus stays silent on the ground, rolled into fetal position. Alala looks to her uncle, the great Zeus, to send a sign to get the group moving along once again. Terrible thunder crashes in jolting Odysseus back onto his feet, for he fears turning back into that cave. Through the lighting bolt words thunder down, "Odysseus! Do not fear, and be on your journey." He walks briskly, rushing past Alala and up the mountain side, fearing what he could and could not see.
The sun starts to set and they reach a small forest. Only a mile away from the stone. Odysseus sat down and took a drink from his canteen while Alala continued to review the map. The salamander crawled cautiously out onto the soft dirt. The small creature only veered out inches when it freezes, turns gray, and is transformed into solid rock form of what it was once was.Odysseus cries out, “Medusa!” and reaches for his egg.
Only meters away Alala runs behind a tree and quickly finds her egg, thrusting it in front of her eyes and face. “Shut your eyes Odysseus! Do not let her see into you!’ She claims. Leaves begin to crunch as footsteps approach, along with the sound of treacherous hissing.
“Odysseus the Great, is that you? For I long to see that handsome face, I had heard great things about you. Why don’t you open your eyes, one quick peep?” The monster stated, she searches for the two while quietly Alala finds Odysseus and continue to move away from the sound of her voice. “You cannot hide from me, for I know all about you, Mr. Nobody. Also, tell that maiden with you I send her father, Ares much love.”
Alala searched for a path out of the forest but as she settles her eyes from the blinding sun Medusa appears. Alas Alala is not quick enough and as she pulls her hands to her face she quickly turn gray and into a lifelike stone. Medusa looks to the sky and quickly states, “Forgive me Ares, I know you will understand." Odysseus realizing he is completely alone, starts to weep. He then remembers Penelope and his life back home, how he strived for it.
Pulling his sword out of his sheath he takes a step forward, eyes closed, ready to strike. Laughter ensues from the monster, thinking she cannot be defeated she takes another step.Odysseus begins to swing his sword, with all of his might, hoping to hit just a small part of her slithering hair. Loud hissing is heard and three small snakes drop to the ground, writhing about. He continues to swing, ultimately cutting ten snakes out of her hair.
“Stop this madness! Oh my babies, you are killing my babies!” She cries as she holds the lifeless animals in her hands. “ I will stop, but only if you let me on my way. No more troubles.” Odysseus says with great courage. Shaken with anger and grief Medusa allows him to pass, already planning on getting back at Odysseus for getting away with his life.
Odysseus doesn’t stop running until he is out of the forest and at the top of the mountain. Stricken by tiredness and grief he falls to his knees, as he does so he views the crystal, ever so clear. It hung in a silver box secured onto a tree. He weakly tumbles over to the tree and smashes the box, only thinking of Ithaca. He reaches inside and gasps with glory, for it was true. The crystal was so pure and bright it could shadow all remaining evil.
Calypso, keeping true to her promise appeared and congratulated Odysseus, but was upset about the loss of one of her maidens. Through the tears of sadness she cried, “I guess it is time for you to go now, Odysseus, I have longed and loved these past years. I will miss them dearly. I have assembled a new raft equipped with supplies, now go be on your way.” She turned away and vanished into the sunset.
The sun was setting as the man made his way down to the silent beach, with peach sand and pearl shells, it was almost a dream. Odysseus shouted with glee, sprinting down the monstrous mountain and onto the beaches of Calypso’s island, jumping aboard the raft and never looking back. For he was sailing home to Ithaca, his one true home.
From my interpretation, The Odyssey can be a story of love, hate, survival, fear, danger, and hope from within. I've learned that we use all of these traits in our daily lives, though they may not be as greatly used as by Odysseus. This great story has taught us for generations that it is okay to feel weak, as long as you get back up. You can make yourself stronger if you really want to, and that you are never truly alone in this world. The Odyssey shows people that not everything is going to be perfect when you want it to be, and that the world is a scary place. I came away with this story with a positive thought, that you can achieve anything, as long as you have a greater goal in mind.