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The Myth of Polyphemus



Polyphemus was a man-eating cyclops and was the son of Poseidon. The story of Polyphemus was told by an ancient Greek poet named Homer. Homer wrote a long poem called the "Odyssey," that told the story of Odysseus and his crew and their journey to go back home to Greece after fighting the war with Troy. During their voyage, they landed on the island of Cyclopes to rest and find food. Odysseus took twelve of his men with him to search the island. They find a cave that has a large food storage in the back of it. What Odysseus didn't know though, was that the cave belonged to Polyphemus, a huge cyclops with one big eye in the middle of his forehead. The cave had milking pens for goats and great racks of cheeses. The men wanted to take the food and run but Odysseus decided that they would wait for the cave's owner. Polyphemus returned with his flock and went into the cave. He put a huge boulder in the opening of the cave and started to do his nightly chores. Polyphemus sees the men and Odysseus explains that they are in need of food and drink, but the cyclops snatches up two of the men, kills them and then eats them. The men can't escape because no one but Polyphemus can move the boulder that blocks the opening to the cave. The next morning Polyphemus eats two more of the men, takes his flock out the the fields and pulls the boulder back into place, trapping Odysseus and the rest of the men inside. The men find a tree trunk in the cave and sharpen it. Polypemus comes back with his sheep and Odysseus gives him some strong wine to drink. When the cyclops asks his name, Odysseus tells him his name is "Nobody." Polyphemus falls asleep and the men take the sharp stick and stab him in the eye, making him blind. Polythemus roars so loud that other cyclops come to the outside of the cave and ask him who is hurting him. When Polyphemus says "Nobody" the other cyclops tell him to be quiet and they all leave. Polyphemus removes the boulder so his sheep can go out to the fields but he stands at the door to make sure the men don't get out. Odysseus has him men hold on to the bellies of the sheep so Polyphemus can't find them. They get out underneath the sheep and escape back to their ship.