While he was sailing along the sea with his companions, Odysseus one day reached the floating island of Aeolia, where Aeolos, the keeper of the Winds, was king.
Aeolos was a friend of the gods and Zeus had appointed him to control the winds. He lived with his wife and his twelve children in a bronze castle with steep and slippery stones and his castle was not accessible to anybody.
After accommodating Odysseus as his guest for one month, Aeolus gave him an ox-skin bag inside of which he had captured all the strong winds. Odysseus attached the bag securely to the ship. From all winds in the bag, only the mild Zephyr was allowed to blow, so Odysseus had a peaceful voyage.
For nine days Odysseus was sailing with his companions, day and night, until finally he drew close to Ithaca. Odysseus could already see the smoke rising from the town...when suddenly he fell asleep.
The companions said to each other:
"How does he manage to be favored by all gods, everywhere he goes?
Without a doubt, his hands are full of loot. But what about us? We made the same journey but our hands are empty!"
"Let's open the bag of Aeolos", one companion suggested."I bet it's full of gold and silver!"
They all agreed and quickly they untied the pouch and released the winds.
Swept away by the power of the winds, they started traveling back the way they had come.
Odysseus was desperate. Without losing time, he went back to Aeolos and asked for help.
"Aeolos, I have been cheated, please show mercy and send me a favorable wind!"
But Aeolus was outraged and shouted to Odysseus: "Go away, disgusting man! I am unable to save you because the gods are working against you!"
Saying so, he expelled Odysseus from the island. Odysseus and his companions had no other option than to go on with their journey with a much greater effort than before.