Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The story of the wild boar and the leg wound

[428] But as soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, they went forth to the hunt, the hounds andthe sons of Autolycus too, and with them went goodly Odysseus. Up the steep mountain Parnassus, clothed with forests, they climbed, and presently reached its windy hollows. The sun was now just striking on the fields, as he rose from softly-gliding, deep-flowing Oceanus, when the beaters came to a glade. Before them went the hounds, tracking the scent, and behind them the sons of Autolycus, and among these the goodly Odysseus followed, close upon the hounds, brandishing his long spear. Now thereby a great wild boar was lying in a thick lair, through which the strength of the wet winds could never blow nor the rays of the bright sun beat, nor could the rain pierce through it, so thick it was; and fallen leaves were there in plenty. Then about the boar there came the noise of the feet of men and dogs as they pressed on in the chase, and forth from his lair he came against them with bristling back and eyes flashing fire, and stood there at bay close before them. Then first of all Odysseus rushed on, holding his long spear on high in his stout hand, eager to smite him; but the boar was too quick for him and struck him above the knee, charging upon him sideways, and with his tusk tore a long gash in the flesh, but did not reach the bone of the man. But Odysseus with sure aim smote him on the right shoulder, and clear through went the point of the bright spear, and the boar fell in the dust with a cry, and his life flew from him.

[455] Then the dear sons of Autolycus busied themselves with the carcase, and the wound of noble, god-like Odysseus they bound up skilfully, and checked the black blood with a charm, and straightway returned to the house of their dear father. And when Autolycus and the sons of Autolycus had fully healed him, and had given him glorious gifts, they quickly sent him back with joy to his native land, to Ithaca. Then his father and his honored mother rejoiced at his return, and asked him all the story, how he got his wound; and he told them all the truth, how, while he was hunting, a boar had struck him with his white tusk when he had gone to Parnassus with the sons of Autolycus.

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