The Odyssey Book 6 Summary
- Meanwhile, Athene enters the city where Odysseus has crash-landed and heads to the bedroom of the beautiful princess Nausikaa.
- Taking the form of the princess's friend, the goddess enters Nausikaa's dream and explains that, while the single life is nice, it's time for her to think about marriage. She urges the princess to go to the streams and wash her wedding linens.
- In the morning, young Nausikaa asks her father to borrow the car—i.e., mule-cart—to take her laundry to the streams.
- When her party gets to the streams, they wash their clothes and play around on the shore.
- Nausikaa is so beautiful that she looks like the goddess Artemis.
- The girls' shouting wakes Odysseus and he gets up to see who it is.
- Did we mention he's naked? (Well, he covers the naughty bits with an olive branch.)
- Everyone scatters at the sight of the big, scary, nearly-naked man. Everyone except Nausikaa, who stays because Athene gives her courage.
- Odysseus considers whether he should fall and hug her knees or use his eloquent speech to convince her that he needs some help.
- They don't call him "cunning" for nothing: Odysseus decides that a big naked man hugging a pretty virgin's knees is probably the wrong way to go, and so he uses his eloquent speech instead.
- He praises her beauty, tells her his situation, and effectively begs for her aid.
- Nausikaa is touched by his story and wants to be of service. She calls her maids out of hiding to help him bathe. (What?)
- Odysseus, always the gentleman, begs to bathe alone—he doesn't want to offend the young girls by letting them see him naked.
- Teehee. If this is what he looked like, we bet a few of those maids would have been glad to volunteer.
- When he's done, he puts on some clothes that the princess gave him and Athene plays up his good looks.
- Now might be a good time to try the knee-hugging approach, because Nausikaa is in l-o-v-e. She tells her maids that she wants a man who looks like Odysseus for a husband.
- The princess gives Odysseus directions to the palace, where he can meet the rest of the Phaiakians.
- Wait a minute… Phaiakians…on the island of Scheria…this sounds familiar. Oh, right, Zeus predicted it.
- She rambles on a bit about her people, who are apparently terrible archers and great at building ships, a particularly juicy tidbit for a stranded man with no possessions who's trying to sail back home to his family.
- Once she's done dropping unintentional hints, the princess tells Odysseus to follow her train of accompanying servant-folk into town and ignore the crude remarks of the seamen they will pass on the way.
- Once they get to town, she says, he should hang out in the garden while she goes inside.
- Then, when the time is right, he should come inside, find her mother the Queen, and hug her knees while he begs for mercy.
- Apparently everything depends on the Queen's opinion. If he can get her on his side, he's all set for hospitality and help in this country.
- Now that Nausikaa has laid out the plans, everyone follows them.
- While Odysseus waits in the gardens, he prays to Athene for luck.
- Athene hears him.
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