Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ZEI: Odysseus and Euryalus

More student riffs on the Odyssey. . . .

Thinking only of his long-lost Ithaca and with no heart to join their games, Odysseus declines the offer to challenge one of the Phaeacian champions. Euryalus, the champion discus thrower, insults him, saying he doesn’t want to take up the challenge for fear of making a fool of himself. White with anger, Odysseus stands to answer the insult. What happens next?


Without bothering to remove his cloak, Odysseus took up a discus from the field.

“We will compete in the discus then," he said, "your specialty.”

“You could never beat me in any kind of competition,” Euryalus sneered. “But if you want discus, that's fine. You throw first!”

Odysseus stood at the line and turned his body round and round several times. Finally he threw the discus with his full might. Further and further it flew, finally landing on the ground. The crowd cheered.

Odysseus had broken all the records of the previous athletes, including Euryalus.

Then it was Euryalus’ turn to throw again. The arrogant champion spun round and round, and threw the discus. It seemed to shoot out from his body, moving very fast. But it dropped short of Odysseus’ throw.

Euryalus stared at the field open-mouthed. He’d never been beaten before. The crowd cheered for the stranger.


Odysseus gegen Euryalus! Unglaubliches Sieg fur Odysseus!

Without bothering to remove his cloak, Odysseus stood up and threw Euryalus. Euryalus landed far off the field in a flat of mud.

Then Odysseus shouted to him: “I’ll tell you who I am! I am Odysseus, the champion from Greece. I could easily sheet you out like an arrow, and of course I’ve got the body of an athlete and the heart too! But you’ve got a cheater’s brain. Now I’m very curious really about who taught you those stupid, ill-chosen kid words you used just now.”

But Euryalus didn’t feel shame for his words. He answered Odysseus meanly: “You mad dog! Did I cheat you? Absolutely not! I thought you were a stranger who wanted to reign over us, who came here to dethrone our king. I’ve chosen my words very carefully. My words are simply the truth!”

Odysseus stepped across to field and approached Euryalus.

“I will go home then,” he said, so that no one but Euryalus could hear. “I don’t want to stay on this small, stinky island of rude kids and play games all my life, do I? I’m a Greek hero!”

And Odysseus picked up the muddy Euryalus once more and threw him back onto the field.

The next day Euryalus convinced the king that Odysseus should be taken home to Greece. The king promised they’d send him home soon.


. . . . without taking off his cloak, Odysseus killed Euryalus by the discus. The Phaeacians screamed and murmured. A blind bard with arthritis was distressed. And a man, eating a boar, started to applaud. The other Phaeacians killed him. They fought and quarreled. Then a rank of bear and oxen swayed toward the assembly place. They ate the corpse of Euryalus. The Phaeacians killed the animals. They grilled their meat. They had a barbecue party.

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