"Well, as Odysseos says to Kalypso, I must be going…"
"But you don't need Hermes to force us to release you…"
"And I haven't been weeping bitter tears for years, staring across the wine-dark sea at my homeland either…"
"I will not pretend that you will be sorry, and I will not say: 'Good luck go with you, but if you could only know how much suffering is in store for you before you get back to your own place, you would stay where you are…'"
"Nevertheless, I must be going."
"Did you know that Kalypso is one of the only two noblewomen in the Odyssey whom we do not see at her loom? Calypso and Nausicaa."
"Not true: we do see Kalypso at her loom: '[Hermes] found [Kalypso] at home. There was a large fire burning on the hearth, and one could smell from far the fragrant reek of burning cedar and sandal wood. As for herself, she was busy at her loom, shooting her golden shuttle through the warp and singing beautifully…' And you remember what she wears when she helps Odysseus build his boat?"
"'When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Eos appeared, Odysseus put on his shirt and cloak, while the goddess [Kalypso] wore a dress of a light gossamer fabric, very fine and graceful, with a beautiful golden girdle about her waist and a veil to cover her head….
"'She gave him a great bronze axe that suited his hands… sharpened on both sides… [with] a beautiful olive-wood handle…. She also gave him a sharp adze, and then led the way to the far end of the island where the largest trees grew-—alder, poplar and pine, that reached the sky—-very dry and well seasoned, so as to sail light for him in the water…. Kalypso came back with some augers, so he bored holes with them and fitted the timbers together with bolts and rivets. He made the raft as broad as a skilled shipwright makes the beam of a large vessel, and he fixed a deck on top of the ribs, and ran a gunwale all round it. He also made a mast with a yard arm, and a rudder to steer with. He fenced the raft all round with wicker hurdles as a protection against the waves, and then he threw on a quantity of wood. By and by Kalypso brought him some linen to make the sails, and he made these too, excellently, making them fast with braces and sheets. Last of all, with the help of levers, he drew the raft down into the water.'"
"Touché. But Nausicaa?"
"Nausicaa is not at her loom, but she is playing naked beach volleyball."
"Naked beach volleyball?"
"'Nausicaa's mother prepared her a basket of provisions with all sorts of good things, and a goat skin full of wine; the girl now got into the wagon, and her mother gave her also a golden cruse of oil, that she and her women might anoint themselves. Then she took the whip and reins and lashed the mules on…. When they reached the water side they went to the washing cisterns…. Here they unharnessed the mules and turned them out to feed on the sweet juicy herbage…. They took the clothes out of the wagon, put them in the water, and vied with one another in treading them in the pits to get the dirt out. After they had washed them and got them quite clean, they laid them out by the sea side… and set about washing themselves and anointing themselves with olive oil….
"'When they had done dinner they threw off the veils that covered their heads and began to play at ball, while Nausicaa sang for them. As the huntress Artemis goes forth upon the mountains of Taygetos or Erymanthos to hunt wild boars or deer, and the wood nymphs, daughters of Aegis-bearing Jove, take their sport along with her (then is Leto proud at seeing her daughter stand a full head taller than the others, and eclipse the loveliest amid a whole bevy of beauties), even so did the girl outshine her handmaids…'
"Naked beach volleyball. I have to get the students interested in reading this, after all."