“Now so long as my men had grain and red wine they kept their hands from the kine, for they were eager to save their lives.1
But when all the stores had been consumed from out the ship,
and now they must needs roam about in search of game, fishes, and fowl, and whatever might come to their hands—fishing with bent hooks, for hunger pinched their bellies—then I went apart up the island that I might pray to the gods in the hope that one of them might show me a way to go.
And when, as I went through the island, I had got away from my comrades, I washed my hands in a place where there was shelter from the wind, and prayed to all the gods that hold Olympus
; but they shed sweet sleep upon my eyelids. And meanwhile Eurylochus began to give evil counsel to my comrades:
“‘Hear my words, comrades, for all your evil plight. All forms of death are hateful to wretched mortals, but to die of hunger, and so meet one's doom, is the most pitiful. Nay, come, let us drive off the best of the kine of Helios and offer sacrifice to the immortals who hold broad heaven.
And if we ever reach Ithaca
, our native land, we will straightway build a rich temple to Helios Hyperion and put therein many goodly offerings. And if haply he be wroth at all because of his straight-horned kine, and be minded to destroy our ship, and the other gods consent,
rather would I lose my life once for all with a gulp at the wave, than pine slowly away in a desert isle.’
“So spoke Eurylochus, and the rest of my comrades gave assent. Straightway they drove off the best of the kine of Helios from near at hand, for not far from the dark-prowed ship
were grazing the fair, sleek kine, broad of brow. Around these, then, they stood and made prayer to the gods, plucking the tender leaves from off a high-crested oak;2
for they had no white barley on board the well-benched ship. Now when they had prayed and had cut the throats of the kine and flayed them,
they cut out the thigh-pieces and covered them with a double layer of fat and laid raw flesh upon them. They had no wine to pour over the blazing sacrifice, but they made libations with water, and roasted all the entrails over the fire.