Right after the Greeks defeated Troy in the Trojan War, they left the burning city and headed home to Ithaca. One ship headed toward Ithaca had a captain named Odysseus. When their supplies started dwindling, they stopped at a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. They found a Cyclops named Polyphemus. Polyphemus usually ate goat cheese and goat milk, but particularly enjoyed an occasional treat of live humans. When the men asked for Polyphemus' hospitality, he trapped them in his cave and kept them there until he was ready to eat them. But Odysseus had a plan. He offered Polyphemus some fragrant red wine given to him by the sea god Poseidon. The wine made Polyphemus fall asleep. Odysseus lit a stake on fire and poked it into Polyphemus' single eye. Polyphemus quickly woke up and howled in agony. He asked Poseidon, who just happened to be his father, to place a curse on Odysseus so that he would never see his home again, but if it must be that he got home, he asked that the homecoming was long and terrible.
Odysseus left the island, only to have a terrible storm come against him and his crew. He was forced to stop at the island of Aaeaa, where a beautiful sorcerer lived. Her name was Circe. However, before Odysseus went into the palace, Hermes came down from the heavens and warned him that Circe liked to turn men into pigs and the only thing that could protect him was the black moly flower, which Hermes showed him in the garden in front of the palace. Odysseus picked the black moly flower and ate it. Then he went into the palace of Circe with some of his men. Circe greeted him kindly and offered his crew and him a glass of wine. He took the wine and drank it, trusting the moly flower to protect him.
After the entire glass of wine was gone, Circe raised a wand and said, "Go wallow in the mud with all the others!" While his entire crew turned into pigs, Odysseus just stood there. After blinking a couple of times, Circe became extremely scared. "Wh-wh-wh why? H-h-how?" Then Circe allowed his men to be changed back into humans and for Odysseus and his crew to stay at her palace for as long as they liked.
After about a year, Odysseus finally wanted to leave. His homesickness was even more powerful than the temptation to live in the lap of luxury his whole life. So, Circe gave him some advice. "You will have to pass through a narrow channel. On one side is Scylla, a vicious sea monster, who will eat six of your men with each of its six heads; on the other side is Charybdis, a whirlpool that will suck up your entire ship. It would be better to go past Scylla and lose six of your men than to go by Charybdis and lose them all, plus your ship." She also gave them some supplies and food to last them quite a while. Then they left.
They went through a lot of adventures. They went by the Sirens who were terrible creatures that would sing to lure men to their island where they would be eaten. But they escaped intact. They also went through the channel just like Circe had said. They even went to the underworld to get advice from a prophet. Soon enough, they landed at the island of Helios, the sun. Helios had many cattle and they were his pride and joy and he would be extremely furious if they were touched. Circe told Odysseus not to land on the island, but if he had to, not to touch the cattle. So before he landed, he made a deal with his men that none of them would touch the cattle. After a while, the men snapped and killed one cattle to eat. As soon as they went to sea, a huge storm sea swept all but Odysseus (who did not touch the cattle) away to drown.
Odysseus had to swim to the nearest island, which happened to be home to Calypso, a beautiful nymph. She fell in love with Odysseus as soon as she saw him. Odysseus wanted to stay until he could recover from the storm and build a small boat. But Calypso wanted him to stay much longer, in fact, for the rest of Calypso's life. Unfortunately, the life of a nymph is almost eternity, about 10 billion years. But, Athena was feeling sorry for Odysseus and asked Zeus, god of hospitality, to end Calyspo's excessive "generosity". And so Zeus ordered Calypso to set him free.
After a few more hardships, Odysseus finally found his way home. Once he was on the shore, Athena told him what hardships had plagued his family for the 20 years he was gone. She explained how suitors had attempted to marry Penelope, his wife. In exactly one day, she would be forced to marry one of them. Odysseus went to his wife in disguise and told her he was home. She decided to have an archery contest and the winner would be her husband. Of course Odysseus won, because he was the best archer in all of Greece.
Odysseus and Penelope lived happily ever after!