What man are you and whence? Where are your city and parents?
The wonder is on me that you drank my drugs and have not been
enchanted, for no other man beside could have stood up
under my drugs, once he drank and they passed the barrier
of his teeth. There is a mind in you no magic will work on.
You are then resourceful Odysseus. Argeïphontes
of the golden staff was forever telling me you would come
to me, on your way back from Troy with your fast black ship.
My name is Circe. I am the daughter of Helios and Perse, the sun and the ocean, and sister of the horrendous Aietes. Because of my goddess status, the island of Aiaia belongs to me, and I take pride in the fact that my name strikes fear into the hearts of men coming from all directions in the seas. However, petrifying as I may be, one man so great and so bright dared to challenge me, a dread goddess, and won. He would be the man that brought great joy and happiness to my household for the duration of his stay, but would eventually leave me distraught and disarrayed.
Oh, how could I ever forget? The island was quiet. The night was dark as always, and we prepared for supper. I ordered my servants to light up a fire so we may, eat, drink, and be merry. We feasted on meat from the beasts that were once men and wine. Just then, a man, Polites, called out to me to open my doors. Not even thinking twice, I opened the shining doors as I came out to personally invite them in. Much to my curiosity, all but one man entered one while that one man remained outside with the beasts. I didn’t know why, but I ignored him anyway. I sat them down on chairs and benches and mixed them a potion with wine. As usual, I put some malignant drugs into the mixture and let them drink it so that they may be lightheaded and forgetful of their country. I drew my wand and turned them all into pigs and drove them down to the pigpen and fed them food that such pigs would eat. Into pigs I turned them because they acted like such, coming into my island and into my house and expecting to be fed food and be given a place to stay. After this, I looked out and saw the man outside run back to his ship. Upon seeing this, I was satisfied knowing that he had either told the rest of his crew to leave the island or gathered them to come back to my house to my liking.
So then we continued our feast, until I heard again another man calling out my name. Excitedly, I opened the doors once again only to be disappointed that just one man came back. Still, amused at his bravery to come alone, I treated him specially, sitting him on a chair with a footstool. Then, I prepared him the same potion in a golden cup and let him drink away. As if by nature, I drew my wand and cursed him to be with his friends in the sty, but instead he got up, drew his knife and ran to me with such rage that fear overtook me. I clasped his knees and questioned his ability to overcome my drugs, and I realized he was the man that Argeiphontes warned me of, the great resourceful Odysseus.
Not wanting to be in such a vulnerable, embarrassing position any longer, I invited him to my bed that we may lay in love and gain faith and trust in each other. Even then, he doubted my sincerity and made me swear that I would not plan any more treachery against him. I did, and then he succumbed to me. I clothed him and prepared a table of food before him, but he did not touch any of it. Even after he outdid me, he was still concerned for the welfare of his men and asked that I turn them back into the men they once were. So, so that I would gain his favor, I gave them each the medicine, and they turned back into men even better than they were before. Then I told Odysseus to go fetch the rest of his men that we may all feast together. When all of Odysseus’ men came together, they cried, but I spoke to them words of encouragement so their hearts may be light again, and we continued our feast together.
For one year, things were so, but when one year had passed, Odysseus clasped my knees and asked that I send them on their way home. I knew this time would come. I knew he was not mine to keep. I just made myself keep hoping that he’d maybe stay instead. Nevertheless, I responded in his favor because I cared for him so, and told him he must first go to the house of Hades and consult with Teiresias the Theban. Then I saw his heart become heavy, but I comforted him and told him all that he needed to do to get the fruits of his journey. So I spoke, and then I sent him to tell the news to his men while I put one black and one white ram and supplies aboard his ship inconspicuously. Upon returning to my house, however, I saw one of his men dead on the ground with his neck broken out of its sockets. Then I felt concerned, and I invoked the gods that no other foolishness and carelessness would happen to them. Then they left.
So I wrote, dear diary, on you that you may hold all my memories and keep them together. You hold all my joys and all my sorrows. Hush now as I keep you in my drawers and ponder on my longing for Odysseus. May the gods curse him and make his journey a perilous one, yet may they also protect him from harm.