October 1, 429BC
As the cool breeze graces my face, the full moon brightly light up the night sky. What more could a man ask for a such beautiful end to his day? Well, for starters, a better day. I am now perplexed with the many enigmas my dad has left me with, and he thinks I can handle them, “My sons knows the ways of the world . . . and blah blah blah.” For the gods’ sake, I can’t even court a fair maiden. In addition to that, leaving my family and I, all of a sudden, should really get him an award like “Dad of the Year.”
My day started like any other day. Waking up to the annoying roster’s call, feeling kind of uneasy from a good night’s drink with friends, I got out of my bed. Right after that, the next thing I hear every morning, every single morning are the moans of the people outside my house. Gods, can’t they fix their own problems. Turmoils here. Plagues there. People whining, “We don’t have enough food.” Honesty, I wouldn’t even know how to solve these problems if my dad suddenly disappeared and went on a vacation in Athens.
Father, being his overly self-righteous and virtuous self again, demanded the retribution of the murder of some man named Lauis. He assembled the his people and questioned them, but gave him no vital information, not even a lead.
Just over the horizon, Uncle Creon was on his way to the palace, and Father called him from a far while I was about to ask him about his many past adventures. Uncle Creon suggested a prophet named Tiresias who could help father with his dilemma. Upon hearing this, daddy immediately called for this oracle.
Imagine a bat being guided by a tinier animal, yup, that’s what Tiresias, blind as a bat, reminded me of. He looked like this crazy old man who hasn’t taken a bath in ages and was led by a very lanky 12 year old boy, literally a walking stick if you ask me. Intrigued by their possible topic, which could have been as deep as Oceanus’s belly, I eavesdropped on them. However, hearing the constant no from this visionless man, bored me so I left. When I had reached the gravel path leading to the house, I heard a booming voice, which most likely came from my father. I wanted to turn back and see the commotion but I felt like hang-in with friends.
The scorching sun was burning my beautiful white skin so I decided to head home. Upon my return, I saw a shepherd entering the house. I thought to myself, “Yes father is going slaughter a lamb, and we will party until its 428 BCE.” Feeling really tired from the hot sun, I went straight up to my room ignoring the heated three way conversation between the shepherd, a man (I think he was a messenger), and my father.
When I woke up from my wonderful afternoon nap, the palace was in utter chaos, as if a tempest has been unleashed. Everyone, especially my dad, was caught in a maelstrom of emotions brought by the news. I asked a servant to fill me in. To my dismay, my father was not the man I thought him to be. He was not as virtuous as I thought him to be. He wasn’t all good. In fact, he was part of a terrible prophecy. HE EVEN SLEPT WITH HIS OWN MOM! EWWW!!!! Even up to now, I am still in shock from the news. The irony of things is that he was his own worst enemy; the man, whom he was perusing, the man whom he vowed to punish was himself.
Immediately after hearing the news, my father gave my brother and I the “You are big boys already” talk. Then, he left.
Where he went is anyone’s guess. His overly self-righteousness led to his demise. Why he didn’t kill himself? I believe he is carrying out his own penalty. To live a life not fully controlled by fates is what he might want to prove or to be a vestige to others. I really don’t know. Whatever the reason maybe he is still my dad and I respect his decision of leaving me with all these problems. It’s probably about time I grew up.
I am Leonidas, a simple man. I work in the growing fields as a farmer, plowing through the crops and taking care of the cattle that feed on them. I strive to provide Thebes the provisions they need in their daily lives, but I cannot. Everyday, I try my best to harvest all the crops in my farm, but the locusts eat all of my harvest. This asinine plague has been terrorizing Thebes for a long time now, and my family is sick of it. The locusts that came here a month ago are still here! They have been eating all the crops I harvest–all the corn that I had planted last season is all gone!
Please, Oedipus. Hear my cry. My family–my wife and two children, are in need of your help. Without the corn, we could not feed ourselves, and we could not also feed our cattle. We are starving here and it seems like you are not doing anything to help us! Without the corn and the cattle, how am I supposed to feed my family? How am I supposed to provide goods for the people? PLEASE TELL ME. Tell me how you are going to stop this stupid plague of locusts from infecting our fields?
I am growing weary of your inability to keep Thebes at peace. I am sure that I am not the only inhabitant of this once lush, green city that thinks that this plague has gone too far. The locusts come every once in a while, but this time, it appears as though they are not leaving! Every crop I own is gone. I really hope that you can stop this plague. It is really hard to live life when there are insects eating your very own source of living.
I hope you can actually do something about this. If not, then you are a useless leader. Goodbye.
To my sister, Queen Jocasta of Thebes. How are things at home. I am on the mountains of Aetolia, far away from civilization and people; so peaceful and serene. Company? the trees and creatures of the sky. Why am I here you may ask; to think. Of all the things that have happened just recently, it is important to think about what has, is, and will happen.
Laius, the King of Thebes, is dead. That is something that we’ve all come to understand. But why must he die? Why did he die? A good man he was but as all men, with flaws. Nonetheless, he was a good king; brought about prosperity and stability. But then for some reason that I cannot recall, Laius traveled, never to return again. In his absence, we were plagued by the Sphinx and her riddle.
Now we have a new king, King Oedipus. He came in the great time of need and solved that very riddle that even the scholars of Thebes could not.
He has ordered the search for the murderer of Laius.
From what the Oracle of Delphi has said, it narrows down the possibilities such that the end of the plague may be swiftly ended with the capture of the murderer(s). But alas, Oedipus has heard that he himself if the murder from Tiresias the blind prophet. Now he accuses me of plotting against him!
Why would I desire his kingship? I can live a life of luxury without the constraints and requirements of kingship. The wealth and riches that comes without the need to listen to people ramble about justice and unfairness. Kingship is unfit for me, I desire freedom. I have little use for power.
This swift, albeit foolish, judgment on his part is merely one of the flaws burdened on great men.
It must be that he thinks he is fulfilling the dreadful prophecy; the one that even we seldom speak of. But is it not true that the child was taken away into the wilderness and killed. Is it not that the dead do that physically appear? This would therefore mean that Oedipus cannot play the role of the son in the prophecy. After all, the child is dead and Oedipus is not.
But no, the truth may not be this way. After all, it has been relayed to me that King Polybus, the father of Oedipus. That is good news to Oedipus and above all, you. The prophecy will never be fulfilled. Then a small birdie told me that King Polybus is not the actual father of Oedipus.
This might just reassure our worst fears. After all, Oedipus arrived about the same time that Laius left and since the prophecies refer to single persons, what if Oedipus killed Laius. Then would the prophecy not be fulfilled?
This cycle of yes and no has truly confused me. My letter may as just well are ramblings. It simply illustrates my train of thought. Perhaps all the mountain air is not good for my city mind.
I hope that all things are well in Thebes and that our worst fears remain fears not actuality.
To my dearest Oedipus,
It is a shame for this day to come, this day of undoing. This is finally the day where all ends would meet, when all suffering will end, when it is finally time for me to say my last hello. Dearest Oedipus, it is finally time for me to say goodbye. By the time you read this letter, I would probably be dwelling in the depths of the underworld for I have lived a disturbing life. A life full of twists and turns in where my ultimate downfall would be the moment that I married you, my son Oedipus, and bore you numerous children. This deed is something that I really regret with all my heart, but this is really too unforgivable. Thus, I have decided to end my life today, by hanging myself, to end all the agony, all the pain. Such a grievous disgrace of marrying my own son and bearing him children deserves more than just hanging myself. Honestly I knew that this day was coming, for people say that “nothing good lasts forever”, so I knew that there would really come a day, where my life would end. For a while now, I have already been preparing myself for this day and I have been experimenting with different herbs, looking for a combination that would be fatal and lead to my demise. Behind your back, I have been drinking mixtures left and right, but seem to find right combination to end my wretched life. While you were away, some mixtures made me high, some turned me delusional, but nothing seemed to work right in the way that I wanted. Thus, I concluded that the only way I could end my life immediately was to commit suicide by hanging myself. Yes, this is truly very tragic, but this is the only for all this madness to end. I decided that the soon as this ends, the better for all of us.
Now that you know of the grave sin we both committed, you are now scarred for life, and I don’t know how you’ll move on from this. Till my very last breath, no matter how much I regret what has transpired in my lifetime and in yours, I still admire you for your courage because you have not given up hope despite knowing of this shameful sin. You continue to move forward and find ways to continue living, whereas I, have lost all hope. It is with great dishonor and disdain that I still talk to you, more especially because I am your mother and wife, but this is the last time that I will be able to talk to you, and that is way I want to let loose all my emotions here. I would be lying to myself if I told you that I did not love you as a husband and as father of my children, but now I say this with complete disgust and regret since now I know that I am your mom as well. This thought really disgusts me to the point of myself not wanting to exist in your world anymore. Any other mother would feel the same way and I hope you understand my decision of ending my life. I hope that you would not do the same thing and end your life as I did, speaking from the viewpoint of being your mom. You still have many things that you can do, things to explore, experiences to learn from, and this is just one of them. Be strong and firm Oedipus. No matter how hard it might be to move on from this, I ask you to try your very best to do so. Sorry for what happened, and sorry for the decision I have made. This is it. Goodbye.
Hold me in contempt if you wish, for remembering me fondly is a request I cannot make of you. Be ashamed if you will, but follow neither your mother’s example nor mine. You know, perchance a , what has transpired in these days of torment through the speaking of the people. Make no mistake, the gruesome truth is more repugnant than the veiled half-truths that they speak of. The only advice I can leave to you, my sons and apparent half-brothers, is to follow your uncle Creon. He is wise, and you have much to learn from him. I do not know him to be a cruel person, and I believe that his rule as king will be peaceful and prosperous. I ask you to support him and help him because he has lost as much as I have in the twisted unfolding of events that was my fate. He is no stranger to suffering, but these past few days have revealed horrors that would hold even the bravest man aghast. He is still but a man, and men need others for strength and sanity. Do not vie for the throne while he is still ruling; I know your hearts desire to do so. Live the remainder of your lives as you please, but do not do any of these that I prohibit. You know that these are for your own good and I only repeat what you probably already know. The last request that I leave to you is the care of your sisters. They are young and in need of guidance, and this Creon will not always be around to give. I know you love them as much as I do, and your love will keep you from straying too far away. Find them proper husbands if you can, and if not, keep them entertained for the remainder of their lives. Do not ask anymore where I shall go or what I shall do. Rid me from your memories, so that you may look to the future with a light that shines with hope. Let not the devious snakes twine themselves around your necks, lest they destroy you when you least expect it. The fate of one is the fate of all.
“Come this way, honored Odysseus, great glory of the Achaians,
and stay your ship, so that you can listen here to our singing;
for no one else has ever sailed past this place in his black ship
until he has listened to the honey-sweet voice that issues
from our lips; then goes on, well pleased, knowing more than ever
he did; for we know everything that the Argives and Trojans
did and suffered in wide Troy through the gods’ despite.
Over all the generous earth we know everything that happens.”
The sea was a deep blue, as clear as it could ever be, and I couldn’t help but stare at its beauty. As I was rowing my oar, I couldn’t help but grow tired of just staring at the sea and rowing. I decided to play a game. If I were to catch a fish with my oar, and push it up in the air as I was rowing, I would name it, and give myself a prize for it when we get back home. I did get to do this. I named the fish James.
It has been a while since we have left Aiaia, as Odysseus told us to be cautious of our journey ahead. The possible dangers ahead—the sirens, Skylla, Charybdis, and all the others—could very well mean the end of our voyage. Odysseus told us to keep calm and to follow the plan that Circe set out for us, and as long as we follow the plan, we would make it alive. With what happened to Aurellius when he opened the bag that was given to Odysseus, who knows what other things could happen to us this time?
I am not a fan of these followers—the ones that defy Odysseus. I could have been in my home right now, celebrating with my family, but I am still here, out at sea. I am still waiting for that one thing that would tell us that we are nearing Ithaca. Everytime I get that feeling, or even when I can see it with my own eyes—Ithaca—someone eventually ruins it. I hope that this time, no one would thwart our plan to go back. The sirens enough are a challenge, but to think that there could be someone that would mess this up, that is an even bigger challenge.
My impression of the sirens is pretty nebulous. I mean, I have heard of them, but I could not really think of what they look like or what they would do. I have heard of their mysterious half-bird-half-woman form, and I have heard of their captivating voices and their ability to seduce any man that passes through their path. I have also heard of them eating any who eventually decide to give in to the sirens’ voices. I could expect the worst. I did expect the worst.
Seeing what happened to most of our companions in the past left me frightened. I mean, Odysseus is a great leader that should be feared, and he has brought us all the way here with his craftiness with his situations, but somewhere along the road, there always seems to be one of his followers that always seems to cause harm to the group and our voyages. If not for Aurellius, we would have already been in Ithaca by now.
My train of thought suddenly got disrupted. My daydreaming had come to a standstill when I took notice of the fact that we were dangerously nearing the island of the sirens. The whole boat was anxious as we did not know what would come in the next few minutes.
“All right, men! As we near the island of the sirens, always remember that you should not take the wax off of your ears, unless you want to die. Perimedes and Eurylochus, remember to never untie me from the mast until we pass,” Odysseus said, as he was getting something from the boat’s insides.
Odysseus had brought in a considerably large amount of wax and cut it up with his sword. With the wax in his hand, he rolled them up into balls with his hands, and gave them to all of us as we could feel the presence of the sirens nearing. There was a cumbersome silence that engulfed us.
Putting the wax in my ears gave me a strange feeling. I had never put something in my ear before, and this deafness threw me off just a little. I never experienced being deaf before, so this complete silence was something new. Hearing only the ringing in my ears gave me a little sense of peace, although I do miss the sound of the waves crashing on the sides of the boat.
I could see the island coming nearer and nearer, but it looked just like any other uninhabited island. We were coming closer, and I could already discern the figures floating around the island.
Odysseus was already bound to the mast.
The sirens flew towards us. I saw them as they were singing their sweet song to Odysseus. His expression screamed “Untie me, for I want to go with the sirens!” I could see his mouth move, as he were shouting to beg us to untie him. He looked at Eurylochus and I, as we were the ones that bound him there to the mast.
I mouthed to Eurylochus, “Should we?”
“I think not,” he replied back. He then pointed at the extra rope located beside the mast where Odysseus was tied up. We decided to tie him up even harder. I know that this would hurt him, but it was for his own good, and for our good too.
As Odysseus gave the signal that it was fine to untie him from the mast, and as the sirens’ island passed our boat, I felt a sense of safety. I, along with the others, took off the wax from our ears, and the familiar sound of the waves I could hear again. Of course, this was just one of the many things that we would have to face, and I am sure that the succeeding ones would be even tougher to handle than this, but I think that we are prepared.
I hope to get home safely soon enough. I can’t wait for the prize I will be giving myself.
“See now, this man is loved by everybody and favored
by all, whenever he visits anyone’s land and city,
and is bringing home with him handsome treasures taken from the plunder of Troy, while we, who have gone through everything he has
on the same venture, come home with our hands empty. Now too
Aiolos in favor of friendship has given him all these
goods. Let us quickly look inside and see what is in there
and how much silver and gold this bag contains inside it.”
You know what, I wouldn’t be in this kind of mess if it wasn’t for that bloody bag. Curse the gods for making such an attractive bag. Curse the King for looking extremely wealthy and generous. Curse Odysseus for not telling us what was inside. It’s their fault I’m in this mess, a mess that started in a palace.
The place was filled with gold, overflowing with affluence. My lord asked help from the blessed Ailos. After their discussion, Odysseus ordered me to carry this bag, “Come Aurellius, one of mightiest warriors as wise as a shaman, carry this bag.” It felt heavy. Strangely heavy. But there was something odd about it. It was as mysterious as a bag with a huge black question mark. Oh, how I could feel it beckoning my soul. The more enigmatic the bag seemed; the more insatiable my hunger to open that bag became. What could be inside? Drachmas? Jewels? Treasures from the underworld?
As we boarded the ship, the conundrum still lingered. Odysseus announced that we were on our way home. Everyone was ecstatic, but me. It still troubled me.
For nine day and nights, we sailed and the great hero, Odysseus stayed awake, manning the ship.
During this period, my ravenous curiosity has been eating me from the inside out. I could hardly sleep. Most of the time, I would just wake up and spend much of my time awake with Odysseus controlling the ship.
On the tenth day, we could see our beloved Ithika. Its golden shore was fast approaching, my many sex deprived nights would soon be over. We could see our homeland, the rugged city of Ithika. My companions and I have been waiting for this day since we have departed. When dawn showed her rosy fingers, Odysseus finally fell asleep, after having stayed up for soo long.
After hearing his sonorous snores, I felt ready to end my worries that, to open the bag once and for all. I creeped in his room and snagged the bag from his hand. After having closed the door, in shook, my mates were standing right in fornt of me. My fellow greek, Cairne, grabbed the bag from me. Feeling righteous as he thought he was, he declared he would immediately return the bag.
“We have been such loyal to companions to Odysseus. We have a suffered great deal of hardships. And yet have we obtained nothing from our adventures. If he isn’t gonna give us anything, we might as well take it to make our time worth while,” I urged him.
“But. It isn’t right. It’s not ours,” he said with a hint of confusion.
“Aren’t you wondering what’s inside the bag? C’mon, guys, what could have blessed Ailos had given Odysseus. Drachmas? Jewels? Aren’t you guys curious?, ” I urged everyone.
“Yes, I am.” said one.
“I am.” said another
“Let’s just open the bag then,” I said.
Just as when Cairne opened the bag, a tempest erupted from within it. Huge gusts pushed everyone back as if the Typhoon’s wrath has been unleashed. The sky was turned a promiscuous gray. And our ship was pushed back in an instant, only to catch a final glimpse of my beloved homeland. My heart was torn. We were so close but it all changed in an instant.
Everyone puts the blame on me. But was it really my own doing? I simply suggested the idea. An idea that has been incepted probably with some divine help. This is how I got to where I am now, an outcast, awaiting death, sure that there is no way of our return.
For 9 days and 9 nights sailing through the raging seas, I watched my master, god-like Odysseus as he was constantly and energetically issuing us, his men, orders on what to do with the ship and where to sail to. It was still fresh in my mind how many of our men died that faithful day when the Kikonians swarmed and ambushed us. With these thoughts lingering in my mind, my master Odysseus and the crew saw an island not so distantly ahead. All of us felt a sigh of relief because, finally we could land.
Once we were able to land and make a stop, god-like Odysseus called out to us and come down from the ship and settle in for a while. “Themis, come down here!” Little did we know, we will eventually have trouble getting out of this island because we have entered the island of the Lotus- Eaters. When we got there, master ordered three men to go scour the island and see what inhabitants this place had. They had found the lotus eaters, and they never wished to kill or harm us, all they did was feed us the lotus. Once we ate the Lotus, we could not stop eating the honey-sweet fruit. None of us wanted to go back home, nor leave the island. All we wanted to do was eat the lotus all day, all night for the rest of our lives.
As I was devouring the lotus fruit, I hallucinated many things. I hallucinated how life would be so much better in this island, how we would never long to go back to Ithaca and just continue eating Lotus, how the sky will continue to shine as we eat the lotus fruit, how we will never grow old and never lose our godly appearances. All these things that an ordinary man would want, all these hallucinations seemed so real and they were so enticing that we forgot that we wanted to go home.
When Odysseus realized what was happening to us, how we were losing ourselves, he abruptly pulled us with force and snapped us out of our hallucinations. He pulled us back to the ship as we were weeping because of the hallucinations having to stop. When all of us got back to the ship, Odysseus quickly ordered that we set sail immediately before another one of us gets to taste the lotus fruit and forgets our objective of getting back home. With that, we once again set sail and continue our journey back home.
Introductory lines: ‘Nine days then I was swept along by the force of the hostile winds on the fishy sea, but on the tenth day we landed in the country of theLotus-Eaters, who live on a flowering 85 food, and there we set foot on the mainland, and fetched water, and my companions soon took their supper there by the fast ships. But after we had tasted of food and drink, then I sent some of my companions ahead, telling them to find out what men, eaters of bread, might live here in this country. 90 I chose two men, and sent a third with them, as a herald. My men went on and presently met the Lotus-Eaters, nor did these Lotus-Eaters have any thoughts of destroying our companions, but they only gave them lotus to taste of. But any of them who ate the honey-sweet fruit of lotus 95 was unwilling to take any message back, or to go away, but they wanted to stay there with the lotus-eating people, feeding on lotus, and forget the way home. I myself took these men back weeping, by force, to where the ships were, and put them aboard under the rowing benches and tied them 100 fast, then gave the order to the rest of my eager Arrival at the island companions to embark on the ships in haste, for fear someone else might taste of the lo tus and forget the way home, and the men quickly went aboard and sat to the oarlocks, and sitting well in order dashed the oars in the gray sea.
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