Odysseus, or Ulysses, depending on your point of view, was on his way home. Easy to say but not so easy to do. You see, just when the Trojan war was all sorted out and it looked as if this glorified Greek soap opera was going to come to a nice tidy end, Odysseus upset Poseidon. Not a good plan, as it turned out – Poseidon being the God of the Sea and Odysseus needing to sail away from Calypso’s island on a raft. So, fighting pirates, being chased by cannibals and all the normal things you would expect to find in any good Coronation Street plot, he landed on Circe’s island. The name of the island was totally unpronounceable, so he sent half his crew to see if they could find someone who knew how to say it.
As luck would have it, Circe was a witch who’s party trick was turning men into animals. So that sorted out the first half of the crew. Odysseus decided he better do something about it – half a crew isn’t much use, especially if they all row on the same side, so he rushed to the rescue. Half way there, he bumped in to Hermes. Hermes was the messenger of the Gods – this was in the days before mobile phones. Hermes said that he should use moly to combat Circe’s magic. Once the moly had defeated the enchantments, Odysseus was to threaten Circe with his sword so that she would suggest that they hop into bed. Just in case you’re thinking of trying this at home, I should mention that they ended up with three children.
Which is all a long and roundabout way of telling you that moly, turned out to be a small white flower with a black root.