7. Odysseus and the Cyclops

Odysseus's return voyage begins well - but there is a prophesy that his journey will take 10 years. He spys land and takes a group of 12 with him to find food and fresh water on land. They are amazed to find that everything seems much larger than they are familiar with - including the sheep. They see a cave and make their way up to it hoping to find the shepherd. They find the cave empty - apart from some of the shepherd's animals and cheeses - so they slaughter a lamb and enjoy a roast meal. But the shepherd is about to return...

The Cyclops - called Polyphemus - is a giant, with one eye in the middle of his forehead and he's the son of Poseidon, god of the sea. His diet includes whatever he can find to hand - so he grabs two of Odysseus's crew and devours them on the spot. Once the Cyclops is asleep the crew think of killing him; but Odysseus explains that the rock which blocks the doorway is far too large for them to roll away themselves and that if they kill the Cyclops they will simply die a slow death, trapped in the cave.

Odysseus, known for his intelligence and cunning, sets to thinking of a plan. Somehow they must make the Cyclops open up the cave...

In the morning the Cyclops enjoys two more crew members for his breakfast and goes out to the pasture, closing the cave entrace again as he goes. Odysseus has formulated his plan...and now that the Cyclops has gone he and the crew can begin their preparations...

Odysseus and the Cyclops - transcript to print/download (pdf)
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