Σφαῖραν ἔπειτ’ ἔρριψε μετ’ ἀμφίπολον βασίλεια·
αἱ δ’ ἐπὶ μακρὸν ἄυσαν· ὁ δ’ ἔγρετο δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς,
ἑζόμενος δ’ ὥρμαινε κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν·
“ὢ μοι ἐγώ, τέων αὖτε βροτῶν ἐς γαῖαν ἱκάνω;
ἦ ῥ’ οἵ γ’ ὑβρισταί τε καὶ ἄγριοι οὐδὲ δίκαιοι,
ἦε φιλόξεινοι καί σφιν νόος ἐστὶ θεουδής;
ὥς τέ με κουράων ἀμφήλυθε θῆλυς ἀϋτή,
νυμφάων, αἳ ἔχουσ’ ὀρέων αἰπεινὰ κάρηνα
καὶ πηγὰς ποταμῶν καὶ πίσεα ποιήεντα.
ἦ νύ που ἀνθρώπων εἰμὶ σχεδὸν αὐδηέντων;
ἀλλ’ ἄγ’ ἐγὼν αὐτὸς πειρήσομαι ἠδὲ ἴδωμαι.”
ὣς εἰπὼν θάμνων ὑπεδύσετο δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς,
ἐκ πυκινῆς δ’ ὕλης πτόρθον κλάσε χειρὶ παχείῃ
φύλλων, ὡς ῥύσαιτοι περὶ χροῒ μήδεα φωτός.
βῆ δ’ ἴμεν ὥς τε λέων ὀρεσίτροφος ἀλκὶ πεποιθώς,
ὅς τ’ εἶσ’ ὑόμενος καὶ ἀήμενος, ἐν δέ οἱ ὄσσε
δαίεται· αὐτὰρ ὁ βουσὶ μετέρχεται ἢ ὀΐεσσιν
ἠὲ μετ’ ἀγροτέρας ἐλάφους· κέλεται δέ ἑ γαστὴρ
μήλων πειρήσοντα καὶ ἐς πυκινὸν δόμον ἐλθεῖν·
ὣς Ὀδυσεὺς κούρῃσιν ἐϋπλοκάμοισιν ἔμελλε
μίξεσθαι, γυμνός περ ἐών· χρειώ γὰρ ἵκανε.
(Homer, Od. 6.115-136)
Accordingly, when the princess threw the ball to one of her maids, it missed her and fell into the deep, eddying current. At this they all gave a loud shriek. The noble Odysseus awoke, and, sitting up, wondered to himself.
‘What country have I come to this time?’ he said with a groan. ‘What people are there here? Hostile and uncivilized savages, or kindly and god-fearing people? There’s a shrill echo in my ears, as though some girls were shrieking – Nymphs, who haunt the steep hill-tops, the springs of rivers, and the grassy meadows. Or am I by any chance among human beings who can talk as I do? Well, I must go and use my own eyes to find out.’
So the noble Odysseus crept out from under the bushes, after breaking off with his great hand a leafy bough from the thicket to conceal his naked manhood. Then he advanced on them like a mountain lion who sallies out, defying wind and rain in the pride of his power, with fire in his eyes, to hunt down the oxen or sheep or pursue the wild deer. Forced by hunger, he will even attack flocks in a well-protected fold. So Odysseus, naked as he was, made a move towards these girls with their braided hair; necessity compelled him. (tr. Robert Fagles)