“And they made answer and addressed him with winged words:
‘If, then, no man does violence to thee in thy loneliness, sickness which comes from great Zeus thou mayest in no wise escape. Nay, do thou pray to our father, the lord Poseidon.’
“So they spoke and went their way; and my heart laughed within me that my name and cunning device had so beguiled.
But the Cyclops
, groaning and travailing in anguish, groped with his hands and took away the stone from the door, and himself sat in the doorway with arms outstretched in the hope of catching anyone who sought to go forth with the sheep—so witless, forsooth, he thought in his heart to find me.
But I took counsel how all might be the very best, if I might haply find some way of escape from death for my comrades and for myself. And I wove all manner of wiles and counsel, as a man will in a matter of life and death; for great was the evil that was nigh us. And this seemed to my mind the best plan.
Rams there were, well-fed and thick of fleece, fine beasts and large, with wool dark as the violet. These I silently bound together with twisted withes on which the Cyclops
, that monster with his heart set on lawlessness, was wont to sleep. Three at a time I took. The one in the middle in each case bore a man,
and the other two went, one on either side, saving my comrades. Thus every three sheep bore a man. But as for me—there was a ram, far the best of all the flock; him I grasped by the back, and curled beneath his shaggy belly, lay there face upwards
with steadfast heart, clinging fast with my hands to his wondrous fleece. So then, with wailing, we waited for the bright dawn.
“As soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, then the males of the flock hastened forth to pasture and the females bleated unmilked about the pens,
for their udders were bursting. And their master, distressed with grievous pains, felt along the backs of all the sheep as they stood up before him, but in his folly he marked not this, that my men were bound beneath the breasts of his fleecy sheep. Last of all the flock the ram went forth,
burdened with the weight of his fleece and my cunning self. And mighty Polyphemus, as he felt along his back, spoke to him, saying:
“‘Good ram, why pray is it that thou goest forth thus through the cave the last of the flock? Thou hast not heretofore been wont to lag behind the sheep, but wast ever far the first to feed on the tender bloom of the grass,
moving with long strides, and ever the first didst reach the streams of the river, and the first didst long to return to the fold at evening. But now thou art last of all. Surely thou art sorrowing for the eye of thy master, which an evil man blinded along with his miserable fellows, when he had overpowered my wits with wine,
even Noman, who, I tell thee, has not yet escaped destruction. If only thou couldst feel as I do, and couldst get thee power of speech to tell me where he skulks away from my wrath, then should his brains be dashed on the ground here and there throughout the cave, when I had smitten him, and my heart
should be lightened of the woes which good-for-naught Noman has brought me.’