“So I spoke, and the beautiful goddess straightway made answer: ‘Then verily, stranger, will I frankly tell thee all.
When the sun hath reached mid-heaven, the unerring old man of the sea is wont to come forth from the brine at the breath of the West Wind, hidden by the dark ripple. And when he is come forth, he lies down to sleep in the hollow caves; and around him the seals, the brood of the fair daughter of the sea,
sleep in a herd, coming forth from the gray water, and bitter is the smell they breathe of the depths of the sea. Thither will I lead thee at break of day and lay you all in a row; for do thou choose carefully three of thy companions, who are the best thou hast in thy well-benched ships.
And I will tell thee all the wizard wiles of that old man. First he will count the seals, and go over them; but when he has told them all off by fives, and beheld them, he will lay himself down in their midst, as a shepherd among his flocks of sheep. Now so soon as you see him laid to rest,
thereafter let your hearts be filled with strength and courage, and do you hold him there despite his striving and struggling to escape. For try he will, and will assume all manner of shapes of all things that move upon the earth, and of water, and of wondrous blazing fire. Yet do ye hold him unflinchingly and grip him yet the more.
But when at length of his own will he speaks and questions thee in that shape in which you saw him laid to rest, then, hero, stay thy might, and set the old man free, and ask him who of the gods is wroth with thee, and of thy return, how thou mayest go over the teeming deep.’
“So saying she plunged beneath the surging sea, but I went to my ships, where they stood on the sand, and many things did my heart darkly ponder as I went. But when I had come down to the ship and to the sea, and we had made ready our supper, and immortal night had come on,
then we lay down to rest on the shore of the sea. And as soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, I went along the shore of the broad-wayed sea, praying earnestly to the gods; and I took with me three of my comrades, in whom I trusted most for every adventure.