Homer tells us that following the events of the Trojan War, Menelaus, King of Sparta, becomes stranded with his men on the isle of Pharos off the coast of Egypt. There he is befriended by Eidothea (“image of the Goddess”), who tells him of her father Proteus, an ancient sea god who might both help Menelaus get home and tell him the fate of his friends in distant lands. To get these answers, Menelaus must seize Proteus when he comes out of the sea and onto the dry land to sleep, and then hold him tight despite the frightening fact that this ancient god has the power to assume the form of any living thing—even water and fire itself. Only if Menelaus can hold the wily shapeshifter through these terrifying transformations will Proteus reveal his true nature as an oracle and truth-teller, and help Menelaus get home.