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The Life of the Witch Circe

Essay By: The Mad Tea Party

This is the story of the Greek witch Circe. The one who turned people to pigs in the Odyssey. This is her life.

Submitted:Jun 14, 2010    Reads: 251    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


"People are coming to my island," said Circe.Her handmaids stood at attention like oversized toy soldiers.
"People are coming to Aeaea," she repeated.
"We shall prepare," said one of the handmaids.The other servants nodded obediently.Circe's pale, azure eyes regarded them coldly as she walked down the line of servants.Her platinum blond hair glistened like ice and fresh snow.Her skin was almost white and stood out against the deep purple of her gown.In her pale, slight hand, a long, elegant wand.
"You have your instructions, now go," she told them menacingly.The line of handmaids bowed low and left the room.Circe looked into a nearby archway with a blank stare.People, she thought to herself.There are bound to be men among them.She sighed with disgust.She hated men.And after all she had been through, she had a right to hate them.
She walked out of the room and into a columned corridor lined with torches.At the end was a door of polished wood.Circe glided her way up to it and opened it without any movement at all.Inside was a circular room with large arches all around.In the center was a round pool filled with shimmering black water.
Circe looked into the pool and regarded her silent reflection.Her voice broke the silence as she muttered a long and complicated incantation.Then silence.The water in the pool rippled as a pale hand pushed itself through.This was followed by a girl, completely nude with sea-green eyes and silvery white hair.She was extremely beautiful, but in a dark and watery way, and her hair moved as if she was underwater.
"Acaste," whispered Circe," I have summoned you so that you may watch the travelers approaching my island of Aeaea.Find out who they are, why they're coming and what they want.Report to me within the next thirty minutes."
The girl bowed and sank back into the water, leaving not a trace.Circe, looked into the water.The reflection had changed.A moment ago, there was another Circe looking at her.But now it was a window into a world dominated by the ocean.She was swimming underwater among fishes and other sea animals.She was looking through the eyes of the girl, Acaste.The reflection flashed by in a blur of blue and green.
Then Circe surfaced and was looking into the horizon that was floating above the surface of the water.And next to her was a ship.It was painted red with a large drawn eye on the side.And it was crawling with men.
Circe screamed with rage.She hated men!Her memories flew to her like a harpy.And she remembered everything.
She was back in her bed.The walls of the small room were dirty and crumbling.Then she saw the man who wrecked her life.He was naked and fat with hair everywhere.The man grabbed Circe by the hair and tossed her across the room.Circe screamed with pain as the man yelled at her.
"You wretched little slut!How dare you sleep at a time like this!Get back to work!"Circe rose in a clumsy fashion, her dirty blond hair fluttering around in the air.
"Yes, father," said the girl.Tears fell from her eyes as she stumbled to the broken door.She walked out into the pale moonlight and limped to the center of the village square.Several people that walked by the girl.Some looked at her with pity, others with disgust.
A woman walked up to her and brought out a pouch.
"Here you are dear," said the woman, holding up a large gold coin."For your family."
"Thank you," said Circe.The little girl took the coin, but just as the woman was about to leave, Circe grabbed the woman's dress and clung to it like a baby with its blanket.The woman took Circe in her arms and lifted her up so that Circe's head was on her shoulders.
"Hush little one," whispered the woman.Then the woman set the girl down and said," I need to go now.I will visit you tomorrow.What's your name?"
"Circe," said the little girl.
"Circe.What a beautiful name.I need to go now, so goodbye."
The woman walked away as Circe waved back.Tears brewed in the girl's eyes as she looked at the pouch of money in her hand.Ever since her mother died, her father would waste money on whores and, when he was out of money, make his daughter steal.She would sit in the square and look lost and alone, until some unfortunate person would saunter up to the girl, take pity on her and then leave with her hands filled with stolen money.
She hated it.She hated preying on the sympathetic.And she could do something about it.She stood up and ran.She ran past the outskirts of the village and ran.Soon her run became a jog, which turned to a walk.She walked through the night and well into the day.By noon, she was hot, tired and starved.Her head felt enormous, while her body felt heavy.Then she fell.The ground rushed up to meet her and …. THUMP.
Circe screamed with frustration as she watched the men in the pool.They were all big and burly, with huge muscles and hairy chests.But one stood out.This man was tall and thinner than the others but still muscular.He had a handsome face with pure brown eyes and dark hair that matched the tanned skin.
She blushed.Then she realized that he looked exactly like…She screamed again.It was impossible.The man in the pool looked exactly like her lover.She had hated that man until the day he died.This was not very long ago.
Circe woke up to the smell of juniper wood.It was layered onto another odor which wasn't pretty.A voice whispered in her ear.
"Drink," the voice said.Circe looked up into the face of an old woman.The woman had long, white hair with pale wrinkled skin.Circe analyzed her with a wary eye.The woman was dressed in black rags with a strange crown-like object made entirely of tree branches rested on her head.Everything about her was old, except her eyes, which were a bright green and lit with an inner flame.
The room she was in was filled with the strange smell.Vegetables and meats hung from the ceiling along with jars and other strange bottles of mysterious liquids.The room was cluttered with all sorts of oddities.
"You must rest dearest," said the woman," You have had a long and tiresome journey.You must rest."
"Who are you?" asked Circe in a small voice.The old woman laughed and said," I am a Dryad.A spirit of the trees.Daughter of Pan.My name is Cresenta. You may call me a witch."
"Wow," said Circe in a quiet voice.Then an idea struck her."Since you are a spirit, can you teach me to control things?You can do magic, right?"The Dryad laughed again.
"Of course dear," said Cresenta in a mystical voice."Of course I'll teach you."
The witch barked a spell and the pale girl appear in the pool.
"You are dismissed," Circe said absently.The girl nodded with the same blank expression on her face and disappeared.Circe left the room in a fury.She was seething with rage.These men were to be her downfall, she thought.They must be disposed of.She rushed down the hall, the torches sputtering out as she passed them.
She burst into a large hall filled with firelight.The golden light filled the room casting shadows of the elegant furniture.
Over the years, Circe was taught by Cresenta, the spirit witch.The girl learned many things.Soon she could transform people into animals, fly, make objects hover, summon the dead, other spirits and more.She lapped it up like a dog.Until one night, it happened.
Circe was finishing her dinner of fish and vervaine when Cresenta walked into the room.The witch looked older and more worn, but she smiled the smile that could wake the dead.
"Now deary, you have one more night in my house, and then you are free."Circe was taken aback.
"What?" she said in confusion.The spirit witch looked directly into Circe's eyes and said," Listen to me.I will sleep outside.Now, whatever you hear, don't come outside.In the morning pack up as much food as you can carry and leave my home.You can take my wand."
Circe gasped.Cresenta's wand was extremely valuable.It was made of silver and crystal with a sapphire handle.How the witch obtained, Circe would never know.Cresenta smiled and sent her to bed with one final kiss on the cheek.Then she disappeared into the night.
Circe lay awake in her bed trying to put everything together.It was all very confusing.Then she heard a scream right outside the house.There was a cracking sound, like a tree falling.Circe buried her head in the warm blankets, the strange sounds assaulting her ears as she fell into the grasp of sleep.
After what seemed like a year of night, Circe woke.She stretched and then remembered Cresenta's last words.The girl jumped out of bed and snatched a rag off the wooden table.She stuffed as much food as she could into the rag, and after tying it into a complex knot, she grabbed the wand and left the house.As soon as she had passed the threshold of the door she stopped.In the middle of the path, a tree stood.It was tall and beautiful but dead.Circe looked at it with curiosity and then noticed that the tree's bark was formed into a face.
Tears welled up in Circe's eyes as she looked into the face of Cresenta.The girl's hand brushed the tree briefly and then she turned away and walked into the horizon.
The witch stood in the door of her house and waved her wand.Out of the dense forest that covered the island of Aeaea, came lions, tigers, and wolves.The sat at Circe's feet looking up at her.Circe made a silent command and the animals understood.They looked around, stood up and began to prowl the perimeter of the house.
Circe listened for the sound she was listening for.She heard it.The sound of men.There was rough laughter and grunts echoing from the nearby beach.She smiled and then began to sing.
Her voice carried from the house and through the island.The birds stopped singing so they could listen.The trees stopped swaying in the breeze and silence permeated the air.
M enelakhos looked into Circe's eyes with a burning passion.Circe was blushing fiercely.Their lips met.For one passionate moment they loved until Menlakhos pulled away.She looked at his hand with the golden ring on it. Then she slapped him.After she had left Cresenta, Circe wandered until she came to the city of Athens.There she became a fortuneteller that foretold the distant future until a young man came to her.They fell in love instantly.His name was Menelakhos.He was tall and slightly muscular with deep brown hair and chocolate brown eyes.It was love at first sight.
Until Menelakhos met Koreeka.And since then, every night, Menelakhos would leave Circe secretly to go and be with Koreeka.Circe had no idea until one of her spirit friends told her of the scandal.After she confronted him about it, he confessed his love for Koreeka and left Circe for the woman only then seemed to change his mind.After that he loved Circe and only Circe.She was furious, hurt and sorrowful.
"How dare you," she exclaimed with disdain."You loved me, left me and now you want me back?!Never in all of my years.Even if Eros himself enchanted me, I will not love you!"
Menelakhos looked at her in a pleading way.Circe looked away in disgust.She would have run into Menelakhos' arms and told him she loved him as well but the fact that he cheated on her was too great to bear.
She pushed him away with a single thrust.He backed away into a small table that sat next to a marble column.They were fighting in Menelakhos' home.It was beautiful and situated in the outskirts of Athens.It used to be a place of warmth and comfort.But now it was a place of betrayal and hate.This was increased by the fact that Koreeka was living here as well as Circe.
Circe looked down at him with a stare of hate.She hated him.She hated all men.If this used to be my perfect man, then the rest of men are selfish, ignorant pigs.Pigs.She looked at the man at her feet.He was begging for forgiveness.Lies, she thought.She reached into her dress and brought out a knife.
She put it on Menelakhos' neck and said," You horrid thing.You will die as my heart died when I heard that my one true love was cheating on me with some ugly whore."She brought the knife across the man's neck.There was an explosion of blood that spewed all over the floor.Menelakhos fell without a word.Circe looked down at the body and studied herself in the mirror-like pool of blood that was now quickly spreading.
The men came, entranced by the voice of the beautiful witch.Circe listened as she sung.She heard the men stumbling through the underbrush, the roar of the lions and the shouts of the men.Circe stopped sing and gave a short command.The roaring ceased.
"Come in, gentlemen," said Circe in a seductive voice.The men entered.They were all muscular and handsome.They gawked at the beautiful woman in front of them.Circe looked at them, trying to find the man that looked like her lover.But he was not among them.
"You must be hungry," said Circe in a lovely voice."Come and eat and partake of my feast."
The men looked on a procession of handmaids entered the room carrying platters of food with them.The men fell upon them at once.The handmaids stood back as the man at the food voraciously.Circe nodded to one of the servants.The servant nodded back and whispered to the woman next to her.The woman disappeared into one of the arches to come back with a platter full of wine glasses.One was presented to Circe and the others were given to the men.The men drank from the wine and ordered more.
"My, my gentlemen.You must be hungry," said Circe apparently amused.Several men nodded and then went back to eating."You know," said Circe," You all look like piggys."Several of the men looked at her with confusion.She raised her wand and dipped the end into her goblet of wine.
The wine seemed to transform into a column of red mist that rose up into the air.The witch smiled and gave a long, satisfied laugh and waved her wand.The men looked up in horror as a wave of red smoke enveloped them.There was a scream followed by a thud.Another scream issued from the cloud of scarlet.The scream slowly transformed into a squeal.And then silence.The cloud cleared, leaving Circe in a room filled with pigs.
Koreeka entered the room and looked around.Circe was sitting at the end of a long table piled high with food and wine.
"Koreeka," she said in a sickly, sweet voice."Come and partake of my food, my love."
"Where is Menelakhos," asked Koreeka.Circe looked at Koreeka.She was pretty but not beautiful.She had shoulder length black hair with olive skin and a small mouth.Her eyes were blank and witless.Circe could tell, just by looking at her, that she wasn't very bright.
"He had to leave dear.He was very rude.We can get back at him by eating all this food I prepared.So when he comes back, there won't be any food left."
"Who are you?" asked Koreeka.
"I'm Circe."Koreeka just looked at her.Menelakhos probably hadn't told her anything about his past lover.She smiled."I'm Menelakhos' new slave.I cooked this magnificent diner for him but he left.So you and I can eat it all by ourselves."
Koreeka smiled dumbly."Okay," she said.
Circe smiled and reached for a platter covered with long strips of meat.Koreeka sat at the other end of the table and began to eat and drink.Circe put a goblet of wine to her mouth but stopped herself and set it back down.Koreeka was ravenous.She gobbled down the food and chugged the wine.It was like she hadn't eaten for days.
"What a piggy you are," said Circe with a cruel laugh.Koreeka looked up in surprise.
"How dare you speak to me that way you slave!" yelled Koreeka.Circe looked at her in hateful happiness.
"Do you love your lover?" she asked.Koreeka nodded in a furious manner."What would you do if you found out that you were eating him?"It took Koreeka a second to understand.Then she froze.She slowly looked down at her meat covered plate.Around one piece of meat, a golden ring lay.
Koreeka screamed and then vomited all over the floor.Circe reached under the table and brought out a long, beautiful wand.Koreeka was running at the witch screaming," You killed him you bitch!!"
"And you ate him," replied Circe happily.Then she stood and dipped the tip of her wand into her glass of wine.Crimson smoke rose from the cup as she cast the spell.There was a squeal of surprise from Koreeka as she was enveloped by the smoke.After the mists cleared, a pig stood in the place of Koreeka.
Night fell.And as the house of Menelakhos burned Circe rode away on a horse of white ivory.When Circe reached the docks, she looked into the distance toward the place she had just come from.A pillar of smoke rose from the house that she had just burned.She had to get away from all of the evils of men.She jumped off her horse and walked to the edge of the wooden dock.Several ships lay moored, floating in the water.
She lifted her wand and touched the tip to the water.The water began to boil.Bubbles rose into the air and a cloud of steam followed it.And after the steam cleared, a silvery ship sat in the dark water.People watched in wonder as Circe stepped into the boat.With a quick movement of her wand, Circe was already about a mile away from the dock, the moon glistening on the water.
Circe looked around at the pigs.They were all brutish looking and ugly.All had wet snouts and black, white and pink skin.Their clothes no longer fitted them, so they were constantly slipping away from them.The handmaids looked at the pigs without a scrap of pity.
"Take them away," said Circe in a disgusted manner.The handmaids nodded and began to herd the pigs through one of the many arches.Circe looked toward the archway where the men had come through and waited.If the men did not return, the handsome man that looked like her lover would have to come.Then she would add his head to her collection.She began to sing again.
After a while, Circe heard someone at the door with the animal guards.She stopped singing and walked to the doors.She opened them and looked out.It was the handsome man she had seen on the ship.His brown hair framing his perfect face.
"Come, weary traveler, and partake of my meal," she said seductively.The man looked at her with wide brown eyes and said," I am Odysseus.I am sailing to the island of Ithaca.I am seeking lodgings for the night to come."
"You are welcome in my house, my dear.I am Circe.Lady of the island of Aeaea."
Odysseus glided into the house of Circe and sat at her table.Circe followed.He was an exact likeness of Menlakhos.He would be a fine addition to her collection.As the handmaids put the food and wine in front of Odysseus, the man put something in his mouth and began to chew.After he swallowed he began to eat and drink.
Circe was smiling wickedly.She took the wine that her handmaid gave to her and brought out her wand.Odysseus looked up as Circe dipped the point of her wand in the wine.She gave one cackle and then brought her wand out of the cup.The smoke rose and flittered towards the man in the center of the room.But as soon as the smoke touched Odysseus it dissipated.Circe raised her eyebrows in shock.No one could resist her potions and enchantments.The smoke wasn't entirely gone so Circe couldn't see Odysseus creep through the mist and jump out at her.She screamed in panic.And ducked, her wand dropping to the floor.Circe's mind was panicking.No one could resist her magick.And yet this man somehow had.His sword was now at her throat.
Tears rushed from her eyes as she pleaded with the man in front of her.
"I'll do anything, you ask," she begged.
"Take me to your bed," said Odysseus.What an odd request, thought Circe, but I can deal with it.
"Of course my love," she said.She knew exactly what to do.She would take him and strip him naked. And then drain every last bit of strength from him.Then she could add him to her collection.
"But you need to promise that once in your bed, you will not try any other magick.Circe swore in her mind but put on a pleasant face and swore the oath.And once she swore the oath, she could never go back.
So Odysseus took Circe by the hand and led her through the house until they came to Circe's bedroom.Circe pushed Odysseus into the room and closed the door.Once inside, Odysseus took her and threw her on the bed and the love flowed.
At about noon the next day Circe awoke next to Odysseus.She looked at him with an odd expression on her face.The expression on his face as he slept, it was not the face of Menelakhos, but something different.It was purer and more innocent.For the first time in years, she felt love creep back into her heart.
With a slight nudge from her hand, he awoke.She pulled him out of bed and put him in a bath.After she bathed him lovingly, Circe led Odysseus into the great hall in which she had tried to enchant him.Her handmaids set food and wine in front of Odysseus as Circe sat in one of the chairs set out.But Odysseus didn't eat or drink anything.He just sat there and looked worried.
"What is wrong?" asked Circe.
"My men are still pigs, remember."
"Oh," said Circe shyly.Then she stood up and snapped her fingers.A handmaid came into the room.Circe whispered something to her and watched the handmaid leave a second later.The woman returned herding a large group of pigs.Odysseus looked at them with interest.Circe walked over to them and reached into her gown and brought out a pouch.She reached into the pouch and brought out a handful of powder.
She sprinkled it all over the pigs and waved her wand.There was a strange hiss as the powder on the pigs smoked.There was a squeal and then another hiss.And a group of naked men stood where the pigs once stood.
Odysseus cried aloud, jumped up and embraced the men despite their nakedness.Circe watched blankly.Then she smiled and said to Odysseus," Go down to your ship and bring back your men.They are welcome here as you are."Odysseus gave Circe a wide grin and then disappeared out the door and into the forest. The men looked at Circe warily.Circe waved her hand as if to swat a bug away.The men instantly got the message and jumped out of the house.
Once everyone was gone, Circe walked to her bedroom.Once inside, she closed the door.She fluttered over to a large mirror that hung beside the bed.She looked at it and, with a sigh, walked through it.On the other side of the mirror, Circe entered a hallway lit by small floating fires.At the end of the hall, was a door.It was made of blackened metal and the smell of rotting flesh was coming from behind it.
She made a motion to touch it, but she couldn't.
Odysseus and his men arrived around sunset, and the feast began.Circe talked with many of the men, becoming accustomed to the joy that was emanating from them.But as she talked and ate with them, she still thought hated thoughts.How could she forget Menelakhos?
She went to bed early.She wanted to get away from all the festivities and idiotic drunkards.As soon as she had lay down in her bed, Odysseus came to her.It was totally unexpected.Then came that strange feeling.It was love.She was feeling love for the man.Without control, she grabbed him and pulled him against her.
Odysseus woke her up and proclaimed that he and his men had to leave.Circe was saddened.
"What?" she said astonished.
"We are leaving, and I need you to help me to get home."
Circe's rage and anger filled her heart but it was beaten back by the love that had grown.She couldn't refuse,
"I will tell you.But you must promise you will visit me sometime."
"I will."
"Very good.So first, you need to journey to Persephone's Grove and onto the Land of the Dead.Once there you need to find the Rivers of Fire and Lamentations and set up a trench between them.Mix honey, milk, wine and water together and pray to the spirits of the dead.Promise them offerings when you return home if the dead prophet Teiresias comes forth.When you are finished, kill a ram and a black ewe and drain them of blood.
"Take the bodies and burn them in the name of Hades and his wife.Then take the blood of the animals and let only the prophet Teiresias drink from it.There will be many ghosts that haunt you for the blood, but only let Teiresias drink.He will tell you of your journey."
When she was finished, Odysseus kissed her one last time and left.Circe slipped out of bed as Odysseus vanished from the room.She walked over to the window and stepped out into the clear, fresh air.She inhaled and breathed out.She snapped her fingers and two animals appeared.One ram and one black ewe.She took them in her arms and jumped into the sky.She flew through the air carrying two sheep-like animals in her arms.She felt the wind rush through her hair and the sweet morning moisture upon her baby-soft skin.
She landed on the ship quietly and silently as the wind.Odysseus and his men weren't there yet so she did what she had to do silently and quietly.She took a bit of rope and tied the two animals she had to the mast and then launched herself into the air.
The way back to her house seemed longer.And as she landed on her balcony she realized that she loved Odysseus.Even though she hated men, she loved him.It was so unlike her.She ran back into her bedroom and stumbled to the mirror.Once through the reflexive glass, Circe ran to the metal door.She drabbed it with one hand and wrenched it open.
Darkness greeted her.She whispered a word and a small flame came into being on the end of her fingertip.The light revealed a room filled with heads.The heads of men, and they all looked the same.Each had brown hair and dark, chocolate eyes.Each was a perfect likeness of Menlakhos and Odysseus.They were all in various states of decay.So were new, and some were nothing but skulls.
"I have no need to continue this," she said to herself.The past was the past.And there was nothing she could do about it.She looked into the eyes of one of the heads.Anger, fury and insanity built inside her.She couldn't forget.How could she forget what all the men, including Menelakhos, did to her. She would kill them, she would kill them all.And only then would she have peace.
The End


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