“Then to the Aeolian isle we came, where dwelt Aeolus, son of Hippotas, dear to the immortal gods, in a floating island, and all around it is a wall of unbreakable bronze, and the cliff runs up sheer.
Twelve children of his, too, there are in the halls, six daughters and six sturdy sons, and he gave his daughters to his sons to wife. These, then, feast continually by their dear father and good mother, and before them lies boundless good cheer.
And the house, filled with the savour of feasting, resounds all about even in the outer court by day,1
and by night again they sleep beside their chaste wives on blankets and on corded bedsteads. To their city, then, and fair palace did we come, and for a full month he made me welcome and questioned me about each thing,
, and the ships of the Argives, and the return of the Achaeans. And I told him all the tale in due order. But when I, on my part, asked him that I might depart and bade him send me on my way, he, too, denied me nothing, but furthered my sending. He gave me a wallet, made of the hide of an ox nine years old,2
which he flayed,
and therein he bound the paths of the blustering winds; for the son of Cronos had made him keeper of the winds, both to still and to rouse whatever one he will. And in my hollow ship he bound it fast with a bright cord of silver, that not a breath might escape, were it never so slight.
But for my furtherance he sent forth the breath of the West Wind to blow, that it might bear on their way both ships and men. Yet this he was not to bring to pass, for we were lost through our own folly.
“For nine days we sailed, night and day alike, and now on the tenth our native land came in sight,
and lo, we were so near that we saw men tending the beacon fires.3
Then upon me came sweet sleep in my weariness, for I had ever kept in hand the sheet of the ship, and had yielded it to none other of my comrades, that we might the sooner come to our native land. But my comrades meanwhile began to speak one to another,
and said that I was bringing home for myself gold and silver as gifts from Aeolus, the great-hearted son of Hippotas. And thus would one speak, with a glance at his neighbor:
“‘Out on it, how beloved and honored this man is by all men, to whose city and land soever he comes!
Much goodly treasure is he carrying with him from the land of Troy
from out the spoil, while we, who have accomplished the same journey as he, are returning, bearing with us empty hands. And now Aeolus has given him these gifts, granting them freely of his love. Nay, come, let us quickly see what is here,
what store of gold and silver is in the wallet.’