The New Student's Reference Work/Scylla and Charybdis
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Scylla and Charybdis (sĭl′lȧ and kā̇-rĭb′dĭs), in Greek legend, were two sea-monsters who dwelt on opposite sides of a narrow strait. Scylla had 12 feet, six necks and six mouths, with three rows of teeth in each, and barked like a dog. Charybdis lived on a cliff under a large fig-tree and three times a day she sucked up the waters of the sea, and three times threw them back. Ulysses passed safely between the monsters, but Scylla snatched away six of his sailors. The names are now applied to a whirlpool in the Straits of Messina near Italy. From the difficulty of passing between them without falling into one or the other rises the proverb: To shun Charybdis and fall into Scylla.