Ulysses on the Island of Circe (no. 4/10)
Ulysses on the Island of Circe (no. 4/10)

Ulysses, you’re a real pig: After they escape the Cyclopes, the gang meets Aeolus, who tries to blow them clear over to Ithaca, but somebody from the crew makes a stupid mistake. They manage to get through horrible storms and eventually wash up on the island of the Laestrygonians, who are a shorter version of the Cyclopes, but with two eyes. Their tremendous aim helps them sink all the ships, eleven in total, except for Ulysses’. ‘By chance’ his ship doesn’t enter the port and gets away. I’m not hinting at anything; I’m just saying… Next, the wind directs the ship to the island of the witch Circe and Ulysses sends some of his rascals to see what’s up with room prices and a fish tavern to get a bit to eat, while he stays behind to ‘check the sails’. Circe welcomes them to her palace, lays out a great spread and mixes one of the own cocktails that turns them into pigs once she touches them with her wand. All the men transform into pigs except for one crafty dude who runs to tell Ulysses the news. This sets him off and as he is just about to burst into Circe’s palace, sword in hand, Hermes shows up as gives him the antidote. “Calm down, let’s talk about it”, says Circe when she sees him so upset and offers him one of those cocktails. Like in a TV ad, he drinks it up and the moment she goes to touch him with her wand, he manages to chop it in two with his sword. And if that‘s not enough, he forces her to turn his companions back to human form. Greatly impressed by Ulysses’ determination and aptitude in persuasion, she falls madly in love with him, and our guy is raring to go and so they live in bliss for a year. Circe tries not to cry on the morning that Ulysses announces they have to leave because Penelope must be worried sick. Taking the high road, she gives him directions and advises him to seek out Tiresias, who will tell him how to reach Ithaca. She stays behind to raise the kids their affair has produced. One of them is Telegonus; hold on to this name, because he plays a defining role in the sequel.