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Story summary: Return From Troy, Episode 4

On this page we have split the telling of this episode into its two main sections and provided a summary of each.

Ancient Greek ship

The greatest gift (4:46)

Odysseus laughs at the Cyclops’ words, looks at the peaceful sea and feels safe. But the men are now becalmed. At last they see the floating island of King Aeolus where they are welcomed warmly. For seven days and nights they feast, drink and tell their stories. Before they leave, Aeolus takes Odysseus aside and gives him a sack containing all the winds of the world. He is keeping these for Zeus (father of the gods) who has stolen them from his brother Poseidon. One of the winds is quietly released to set the ship on its way. Odysseus makes the mistake of boasting to his men that he now has the greatest gift that he has ever been given.

Sight of home (5:16)

The journey home is effortless. Odysseus is filled with happiness as they approach his beloved Ithaca. Having been awake for nine days and nights he falls into a deep sleep. Poseidon rocks the ship and the sack is dislodged. The men, who are resentful that Odysseus is keeping the treasure to himself, decide to look and see what’s in the bag. Out pour the winds, to be seized immediately by Poseidon for the creation of endless dramatic storms. The men once more sight the island of King Aeolus and make for it, but this time they are not welcome. Having angered Poseidon they are now a threat to everyone. Will they ever see their homes again?

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