Trojan War and the Adventures of Odysseusby Padraic Colum, Barry Moser (Illustrator)
Here is the perfect introduction to The Iliad and The Odyssey, two of the cornerstones of Western literature. All of the glories of Homer's worldfrom the mysterious Wooden Horse to Helen, whose beauty launched a thousand ships, to the fearsome one-eyed Cyclopsare here, refashioned into one seamless tale of adventure by three-time Newbery/b>/b>
Here is the perfect introduction to The Iliad and The Odyssey, two of the cornerstones of Western literature. All of the glories of Homer's worldfrom the mysterious Wooden Horse to Helen, whose beauty launched a thousand ships, to the fearsome one-eyed Cyclopsare here, refashioned into one seamless tale of adventure by three-time Newbery Honor winner Padraic Colum. Beautifully enhanced by Barry Moser's twelve bold, evocative color plates, this handsome book will stir the imagination of young and old alike.
Read an Excerpt
This is the story of Odysseus, the most renowned of all the heroes the Greek poets have told us ofof Odysseus, his wars and wanderings. And this story of Odysseus begins with his son, the youth who was called Telemachus.
It was when Telemachus was a child of a month old that a messenger came from Agamemnon, the Great King, bidding Odysseus betake himself to the war against Troy that the kings and princes of Greece were about to wage. The wise Odysseus, foreseeing the disasters that would befall all that entered that war, was loath to go. And so when Agamemnon's messenger came to the island of Ithaka, where he was king, Odysseus pretended to be mad. And that the messenger, Palamedes, might believe he was mad indeed, he did a thing that no man ever saw being done beforehe took an ass and an ox and yoked them together to the same plow and began to plow a field. And when he had plowed a furrow he sowed it, not with seeds that would grow, but with salt. When Palamedes saw him doing this he was nearly persuaded that Odysseus was mad. But to test him he took the child Telemachus and laid him down in the field in the way of the plow. Odysseus, when he came near to where the child lay, turned the plow aside and thereby showed that he was not a madman. Then had he to take King Agamemnon's summons. And Agamemnon's word was that Odysseus should go to Aulis, where the ships of the kings and princes of Greece were being gathered. But first he was to go into another country to seek the hero Achilles and persuade him also to enter the war against Troy.And so Odysseus bade good-bye to his infant son, Telemachus, and to his young wife, Penelope,and to his father, old Laertes. And he bade good-bye to his house and his lands and to the island of Ithaka, where he was king. He summoned a council of the chief men of Ithaka and commended to their care his wife and his child and all his household, and thereafter he took his sailors and his fighting men with him and he sailed away. The years went by and Odysseus did not return. After ten years the city was taken by the kings and princes of Greece and the thread of war was wound up. But still Odysseus did not return. And now minstrels came to Ithaka with word of the deaths or the homecomings of the heroes who had fought in the war against Troy. But no minstrel brought any word of Odysseus, of his death or of his appearance in any land known to men. Ten years more went by. And now that infant son whom he had left behind, Telemachus, had grown up and was a young man of strength and purpose.
One day, as he sat sad and disconsolate in the house of his father, the youth Telemachus saw a stranger come to the outer gate. There were many in the court outside, but no one went to receive the newcomer. Then, because he would never let a stranger stand at the gate without hurrying out to welcome him, and because, too, he had hopes that someday such a one would bring him tidings of his father, Telemachus rose up from where he was sitting and went down the hall and through the court and to the gate at which the stranger stood.
"Welcome to the house of Odysseus," said Telemachus, giving him his hand. The stranger clasped it with a friendly clasp. "I thank you, Telemachus," he said, "for your welcome, and glad I am to enter the house of your father, the renowned Odysseus."
The stranger looked like one who would be a captain amongst soldiers. His eyes were gray and clear and shone wonderfully. In his hand he carried a great bronze spear. He and Telemachus went together through the court and into the hall. And when the stranger left his spear within the spear stand Telemachus took him to a high chair and put a footstool under his feet.
He had brought him to a place in the hall where the crowd would not come. There were many in the court outside and Telemachus would not have his guest disturbed by questions or clamors. A handmaid brought water for the washing of his hands, and poured it over them from a golden ewer into a silver basin. A polished table was left at his side. Then the housedame brought wheaten bread and many dainties. Other servants set down dishes of meat with golden cups, and afterward the maids came into the hall and filled up the cups with wine.
But the servants who waited on Telemachus and his guest were disturbed by the crowd of men who now came Into the hall. They seated themselves at tables and shouted out their orders. Great dishes of meat were brought to them and bowls of wine, and the men ate and drank and talked loudly to each other and did not refrain even from staring at the stranger who sat with Telemachus.
"Is there a wedding feast in the house?" the stranger asked. "Or do the men of your clan meet here to drink with each other?"
A flush of shame came to the face of Telemachus. "There is no wedding feast here," he said, "nor do the men of our clan meet here to drink with each other. Listen to me, my guest. Because you look so wise and because you seem so friendly to my father's name I will tell you who these men are and why they trouble this house."
Thereupon Telemachus told the stranger how his father had not returned from the war of Troy, although it was now ten years since the city was taken by those with whom he went.
Meet the Author
Padraic Colum(1881-1972) grew up in County Cavan, Ireland, and immigrated to the United States in 1914. Seeking to retain his knowledge of the Irish language, Colum (whose name is pronounced Pawtb-rig Ka-lem) began translating traditional folktales into English. He became well known for his retelling ability, and eventually three collections of his adaptions for children were named Newbery Honor Books.
Barry Moser is the prizewinning illustrator and designer of more than three hundred books for children and adults. He is widely celebrated for his dramatic wood engravings for the only twentieth-century edition of the entire King James Bible illustrated by a single artist. He lives in western Massachusetts.
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