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Greek Mythology > Immortals > Skylla
This was what you would call a ‘no win situation’. Kirke (Circe) warned Odysseus that if he sailed too close to Skylla (Scylla) she would attack and eat his crew. If he sailed too close to Kharybdis (Charybdis) he would surely be caught when she sucked down the sea in her regular routine. Odysseus could sail by Skylla and take his losses or he could linger and fight Skylla, thus loosing the entire crew to Kharybdis. It was a cruel choice for Odysseus but it got worse.
Odysseus wanted to fight Skylla and then try to flee before Kharybdis rose to action. Kirke scolded him and said he must yield to the Immortals. Odysseus did yield. He did not warn his crew of the danger because Kirke said it would do no good. Skylla was bloodthirsty and she would have her way.
When Odysseus and his brave crew came to the Rovers (Odyssey, book 12, line 225), Odysseus put on his finest armor and stood with two spears scanning the rockface for any sign of Skylla. Regardless, he was still taken by surprise. They gave Kharybdis a wide berth and sailed near Skylla’s rock. While Kharybdis kept their attention with her gushing and sputtering, Skylla swooped down unseen and snatched up six of the crew. Their legs and torsos were dangling from Skylla’s mouths as she lifted them to her cave to eat them. They screamed for Odysseus and begged for help but he stood helpless on the deck with the rest of the terrified crew. Odysseus said it was the most pitiful scene his long suffering eyes had ever seen.
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