Каминяр Дмитрий Генаддьевич: другие произведения.

L & V. Uspensky. Charybdis and Scylla

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...When the island of the Sirens has vanished in the fog and the Argonauts had stopped wisecracking, wise Orpheus spoke up:

"People often worship from afar what up close is ugly or humorous".

But the Argonauts did not remember their misadventure with the deadly beauties for long. In the direction of the prow of their ship came a sound as if they were approaching a storm. To their left was the seashore, to their right - a great and a forested island. Between the two was a strait, very narrow and clenched by land. From one side came hoarse barking, as if a thousand dogs came to the cliff and fought over bones. From the other the sea bellowed and the waves came ever higher.

"Have we returned to the Black sea and are back in the land of the cynocephali?" asked Telamon.

No one replied, since nobody was sure what was the name of the island on his or her left.

After hearing the barking and the noise, Tifeus turned to the left. He reckoned that the dogs that gathered on the cliff were not that dangerous. Better to pass them by than to end up in the roaring sea.

But as soon as Argo moved to the left coast, Jason cried:

"Argo must go right, steersman! Behold, it's the terrible Scylla!"

The Argonauts looked upwards and so a terrifying monster.

Six fierce wolf heads, gaping bloody maws with three rows of teeth loomed over the sea. They were located on one twisting neck as fungi on a tree stump. 12 paws with steel claws were reaching towards Argo. 12 burning eyes constantly watched the ship.

Fully afraid, Tifeus steered the vessel to the right. But even as the foul Scylla remained in sight, a huge maw of another monster opened wide. The waves just poured into it as if it was a bottom-less pit, taking the ship with them.

"Back!" Meleager yelled. "Row back! Beware Charybdis!"

The Argonauts rowed as hard as they could, fighting with the current.

Only barely they were able to save the ship and stay near an algae-covered reef that suddenly appeared amongst the waves because Charybdis swallowed the entire sea into its gullet and the waters abruptly became shallow.

Deafened by the roar of the tide the heroes adhered themselves to the rock however they could, and Charybdis, quivering nostrils opened wide, continued to swallow the remains of the sea and steam rose over the monster.

"As soon as the monster spits the water out," Jason told the others, "immediately start rowing. If we fail to make it will the monster exhales, we shall never again see Greece. Raise the sail. Boreades, pray to your father for help."

While he was saying this, the waves began to race back. It was the wicked Charybdis, vomiting all of the water from its gullet. But the rowers were ready now.

Oars struck the water, the sail opened wide with a crack, and the ship flew right past the monsters as if it was fired by Artemis" bow.

And for a long while the Argonauts heard how wicked Scylla barks at them, how Charybdis snarls and snorts in anger, but now they were safe and lowering the sail they began to row eastwards, past the mountain capes.

Thus they passed the straits of Messina.

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