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05-27-2007, 01:27 AM

Telemachus relates to his mother what he had heard at Pylos
and Sparta

So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, then
Telemachus, the dear son of divine Odysseus, bound beneath
his feet his goodly sandals, and took up his mighty spear
that fitted his grasp, to make for the city; and he spake
to his swineherd, saying:

'Verily, father, I am bound for the city, that my mother
may see me, for methinks that she will not cease from
grievous wailing and tearful lament, until she beholds my
very face. But this command I give thee: Lead this
stranger, the hapless one, to the city, that there he may
beg his meat, and whoso chooses will give him a morsel of
bread and a cup of water. As for myself, I can in no wise
suffer every guest who comes to me, so afflicted am I in
spirit. But if the stranger be sore angered hereat, the
more grievous will it be for himself; howbeit I for one
love to speak the truth.'

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 'I too,
my friend, have no great liking to be left behind here. It
is better that a beggar should beg his meat in the town
than in the fields, and whoso chooses will give it me. For
I am not now of an age to abide at the steading, and to
obey in all things the word of the master. Nay go, and this
man that thou biddest will lead me, so soon as I shall be
warmed with the fire, and the sun waxes hot. For woefully
poor are these garments of mine, and I fear lest the hoar
frost of the dawn overcome me; moreover ye say the city is
far away.'

So he spake, and Telemachus passed out through the
steading, stepping forth at a quick pace, and was sowing
the seeds of evil for the wooers. Now when he was come to
the fair-lying house, he set his spear against the tall
pillar and leaned it there, and himself went in and crossed
the threshold of stone.

And the nurse Eurycleia saw him far before the rest, as she
was strewing skin coverlets upon the carven chairs, and
straightway she drew near him, weeping, and all the other
maidens of Odysseus, of the hardy heart, were gathered
about him, and kissed him lovingly on the head and
shoulders. Now wise Penelope came forth from her chamber,
like Artemis or golden Aphrodite, and cast her arms about
her dear son, and fell a weeping, and kissed his face and
both his beautiful eyes, and wept aloud, and spake to him
winged words:

'Thou art come, Telemachus, a sweet light in the dark;
methought I should see thee never again, after thou hadst
gone in thy ship to Pylos, secretly and without my will, to
seek tidings of thy dear father. Come now, tell me, what
sight thou didst get of him?'

And wise Telemachus answered her, saying: 'Mother mine,
wake not wailing in my soul, nor stir the heart within the
breast of me, that have but now fled from utter death. Nay,
but wash thee in water, and take to thee fresh raiment, and
go aloft to thine upper chamber with the women thy
handmaids, and vow to all the gods an acceptable sacrifice
of hecatombs, if haply Zeus may grant that deeds of
requital be made. But I will go to the assembly-place to
bid a stranger to our house, one that accompanied me as I
came hither from Pylos. I sent him forward with my godlike
company, and commanded Piraeus to lead him home, and to
take heed to treat him lovingly and with worship till I
should come.'

Thus he spake, and wingless her speech remained. And she
washed her in water, and took to her fresh raiment, and
vowed to all the gods an acceptable sacrifice of hecatombs,
if haply Zeus might grant that deeds of requital should be

Now Telemachus went out through the hall with the spear in
his hand: and two swift hounds bare him company. And Athene
shed on him a wondrous grace, and all the people marvelled
at him as he came. And the lordly wooers gathered about him
with fair words on their lips, but brooding evil in the
deep of their heart. Then he avoided the great press of the
wooers, but where Mentor sat, and Antiphus, and
Halitherses, who were friends of his house from of old,
there he went and sat down; and they asked him of all his
adventures. Then Piraeus, the famed spearsman, drew nigh,
leading the stranger to the assembly-place by the way of
the town; and Telemachus kept not aloof from him long, but
went up to him.

Then Piraeus first spake to him, saying: 'Bestir the women
straightway to go to my house, that I may send thee the
gifts that Menelaus gave thee.'

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: 'Piraeus, we
know not how these matters will fall out. If the lordly
wooers shall slay me by guile in the halls, and divide
among them the heritage of my father, then I should wish
thee to keep and enjoy the gifts thyself, rather than any
of these. But if I shall sow the seeds of death and fate
for the wooers, then gladly bring me to the house the gifts
that I will gladly take.'

Therewith he led the travel-worn stranger to the house. Now
when they came to the fair-lying palace, they laid aside
their mantles on the chairs and high seats, and went to the
polished baths, and bathed them. So when the maidens had
bathed them and anointed them with olive oil, and cast
about them thick mantles and doublets, they came forth from
the baths, and sat upon the seats. Then the handmaid bare
water for the hands in a goodly golden ewer, and poured it
forth over a silver basin to wash withal, and drew to their
side a polished table. And the grave dame bare wheaten
bread, and set it by them, and laid on the board many
dainties, giving freely of such things as she had by her.
And the mother of Telemachus sat over against him by the
pillar of the hall, leaning against a chair, and spinning
the slender threads from the yarn. And they stretched forth
their hands upon the good cheer set before them. Now when
they had put from them the desire of meat and drink, the
wise Penelope first spake among them:

'Telemachus, verily I will go up to my upper chamber, and
lay me in my bed, the place of my groanings, that is ever
watered by my tears, since the day that Odysseus departed
with the sons of Atreus for Ilios. Yet thou hadst no care
to tell me clearly, before the lordly wooers came to this
house, concerning the returning of thy father, if haply
thou hast heard thereof.'

And wise Telemachus answered her, saying: 'Yea now, mother,
I will tell thee all the truth. We went to Pylos and to
Nestor, the shepherd of the people, and he received me in
his lofty house, and was diligent to entreat me lovingly,
as a father might his son that had but newly come from
strange lands after many years; even so diligently he cared
for me with his renowned sons. Yet he said that he had
heard no word from any man on earth concerning Odysseus, of
the hardy heart, whether alive or dead. But he sent me
forward on my way with horses and a chariot, well compact,
to Menelaus, son of Atreus, spearman renowned. There I saw
Argive Helen, for whose sake the Argives and Trojans bore
much travail by the gods' designs. Then straightway
Menelaus, of the loud war-cry, asked me on what quest I had
come to goodly Lacedaemon. And I told him all the truth.
Then he made answer, and spake, saying:

'"Out upon them, for truly in the bed of a brave-hearted
man were they minded to lie, very cravens as they are! Even
as when a hind hath couched her newborn fawns unweaned in a
strong lion's lair, and searcheth out the mountain-knees
and grassy hollows, seeking pasture; and afterward the lion
cometh back to his bed, and sendeth forth unsightly death
upon that pair, even so shall Odysseus send forth unsightly
death upon the wooers. Would to our father Zeus, and
Athene, and Apollo, would that in such might as when of old
in stablished Lesbos he rose up in strife and wrestled with
Philomeleides, and threw him mightily, and all the Achaeans
rejoiced; would that in such strength Odysseus might
consort with the wooers; then should they all have swift
fate and bitter wedlock! But for that whereof thou askest
and entreatest me, be sure I will not swerve from the truth
in aught that I say, nor deceive thee; but of all that the
ancient one of the sea, whose speech is sooth, declared to
me, not a word will I hide or keep from thee. He said that
he saw Odysseus in an island, suffering strong pains in the
halls of the nymph Calypso, who holds him there perforce;
so that he may not come to his own country, for he has by
him no ships with oars, and no companions to send him on
his way over the broad back of the sea." So spake Menelaus,
son of Atreus, spearsman renowned. Then having fulfilled
all, I set out for home, and the deathless gods gave me a
fair wind, and brought me swiftly to mine own dear

So he spake, and stirred her heart within her breast. And
next the godlike Theoclymenus spake among them:

'O wife revered of Odysseus, son of Laertes, verily he hath
no clear knowledge; but my word do thou mark, for I will
prophesy to thee most truly and hide nought. Now Zeus be
witness before any god, and this hospitable board and this
hearth of noble Odysseus, whereunto I am come, that
Odysseus is even now of a surety in his own country,
resting or faring, learning of these evil deeds, and sowing
the seeds of evil for all the wooers. So clear was the omen
of the bird that I saw as I sat on the decked ship, and I
proclaimed it to Telemachus.'

Then wise Penelope answered him, saying: 'Ah, stranger,
would that this thy word may be accomplished! Soon
shouldest thou be aware of kindness and of many a gift at
my hands, so that whoso met with thee would call thee

Thus they spake one to the other. But the wooers meantime
were before the palace of Odysseus, taking their pleasure
in casting of weights and of spears on a levelled place, as
heretofore, in their insolence. But when it was now the
hour for supper, and the flocks came home from the fields
all around, and the men led them whose custom it was, then
Medon, who of all the henchmen was most to their mind, and
was ever with them at the feast, spake to them, saying:

'Noble youths, now that ye have had sport to your hearts'
content, get you into the house, that we may make ready a
feast; for truly it is no bad thing to take meat in

Even so he spake, and they rose up and departed, and were
obedient to his word. Now when they were come into the
fair-lying house, they laid aside their mantles on the
chairs and high seats, and they sacrificed great sheep and
stout goats, yea, and the fatlings of the boars and an
heifer of the herd, and got ready the feast.

Now all this while Odysseus and the goodly swineherd were
bestirring them to go from the field to the city; and the
swineherd, a master of men, spake first saying:

'Well, my friend, forasmuch as I see thou art eager to be
going to the city to-day, even as my master gave command;--
though myself I would well that thou shouldest be left here
to keep the steading, but I hold him in reverence and fear,
lest he chide me afterwards, and grievous are the rebukes
of masters--come then, let us go on our way, for lo, the
day is far spent, and soon wilt thou find it colder toward

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 'I
mark, I heed: all this thou speakest to one with
understanding. But let us be going, and be thou my guide
withal to the end. And if thou hast anywhere a staff ready
cut, give it me to lean upon, for truly ye said that
slippery was the way.'

Therewith he cast about his shoulders a mean scrip, all
tattered, and a cord withal to hang it, and Eumaeus gave
him a staff to his mind. So these twain went on their way,
and the dogs and the herdsmen stayed behind to guard the
steading. And the swineherd led his lord to the city in the
guise of a beggar, a wretched man and an old, leaning on a
staff; and sorry was the raiment wherewith he was clothed
upon. But as they fared along the rugged path they drew
near to the town, and came to the fair flowing spring, with
a basin fashioned, whence the people of the city drew
water. This well Ithacus and Neritus and Polyctor had
builded. And around it was a thicket of alders that grow by
the waters, all circlewise, and down the cold stream fell
from a rock on high, and above was reared an altar to the
Nymphs, whereat all wayfarers made offering. In that place
Melanthius, son of Dolius, met them, leading his goats to
feast the wooers, the best goats that were in all the
herds; and two herdsmen bare him company. Now when he saw
them he reviled them, and spake and hailed them, in
terrible and evil fashion, and stirred the heart of
Odysseus, saying:

'Now in very truth the vile is leading the vile, for god
brings ever like to like! Say, whither art thou leading
this glutton,--thou wretched swineherd,--this plaguy
beggar, a kill-joy of the feast? He is one to stand about
and rub his shoulders against many doorposts, begging for
scraps of meat, not for swords or cauldrons. If thou
wouldst give me the fellow to watch my steading and sweep
out the stalls, and carry fresh fodder to the kids, then he
might drink whey and get him a stout thigh. Howbeit, since
he is practised only in evil, he will not care to betake
him to the labour of the farm, but rather chooses to go
louting through the land asking alms to fill his insatiate
belly. But now I will speak out and my word shall surely be
accomplished. If ever he fares to the house of divine
Odysseus, many a stool that men's hands hurl shall fly
about his head, and break upon his ribs, {*} as they pelt
him through the house.'

{* Reading [Greek]}

Therewith, as he went past, he kicked Odysseus on the hip,
in his witlessness, yet he drave him not from the path, but
he abode steadfast. And Odysseus pondered whether he should
rush upon him and take away his life with the staff, or
lift him in his grasp {*} and smite his head to the earth.
Yet he hardened his heart to endure and refrained himself.
And the swineherd looked at the other and rebuked him, and
lifting up his hands prayed aloud:

{* [Greek] is perhaps best taken as an adverb in [Greek]
formed from [Greek], though some letters of the word are
still left obscure. Most modern commentators, however,
derive it from [Greek] and [Greek] 'near the ground; hence,
in this context, 'lift him by the feet.'}

'Nymphs of the well-water, daughters of Zeus, if ever
Odysseus burned on your altars pieces of the thighs of rams
or kids, in their covering of rich fat, fulfil for me this
wish:--oh that he, even he, may come home, and that some
god may bring him! Then would he scatter all thy bravery,
which now thou flauntest insolently, wandering ever about
the city, while evil shepherds destroy the flock.'

Then Melanthius, the goatherd, answered: 'Lo now, what a
word has this evil-witted dog been saying! Some day I will
take him in a black decked ship far from Ithaca, that he
may bring me in much livelihood. Would God that Apollo, of
the silver bow, might smite Telemachus to-day in the halls,
or that he might fall before the wooers, so surely as for
Odysseus the day of returning has in a far land gone by!'

So he spake and left them there as they walked slowly on.
But Melanthius stepped forth, and came very speedily to the
house of the prince, and straightway he went in and sat
down among the wooers, over against Eurymachus, who chiefly
showed him kindness. And they that ministered set by him a
portion of flesh, and the grave dame brought wheaten bread
and set it by him to eat. Now Odysseus and the goodly
swineherd drew near and stood by, and the sound of the
hollow lyre rang around them, for Phemius was lifting up
his voice amid the company in song, and Odysseus caught the
swineherd by the hand, and spake, saying:

'Eumaeus, verily this is the fair house of Odysseus, and
right easily might it be known and marked even among many.
There is building beyond building, and the court of the
house is cunningly wrought with a wall and battlements, and
well-fenced are the folding doors; no man may hold it in
disdain. And I see that many men keep revel within, for the
savour of the fat rises upward, {*} and the voice of the
lyre is heard there, which the gods have made to be the
mate of the feast.'

{* Reading [Greek]}

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 'Easily
thou knowest it, for indeed thou never lackest
understanding. But come, let us advise us, how things shall
fall out here. Either do thou go first within the
fair-lying halls, and join the company of the wooers, so
will I remain here, or if thou wilt, abide here, and I will
go before thy face, and tarry not long, lest one see thee
without, and hurl at thee or strike thee. Look well to
this, I bid thee.'

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him, saying: 'I
mark, I heed, all this thou speakest to one with
understanding. Do thou then go before me, and I will remain
here, for well I know what it is to be smitten and hurled
at. My heart is full of hardiness, for much evil have I
suffered in perils of waves and war; let this be added to
the tale of those. But a ravening belly may none conceal, a
thing accursed, that works much ill for men. For this cause
too the benched ships are furnished, that bear mischief to
foemen over the unharvested seas.'

Thus they spake one to the other. And lo, a hound raised up
his head and pricked his ears, even where he lay, Argos,
the hound of Odysseus, of the hardy heart, which of old
himself had bred, but had got no joy of him, for ere that,
he went to sacred Ilios. Now in time past the young men
used to lead the hound against wild goats and deer and
hares; but as then, despised he lay (his master being afar)
in the deep dung of mules and kine, whereof an ample bed
was spread before the doors, till the thralls of Odysseus
should carry it away to dung therewith his wide demesne.
There lay the dog Argos, full of vermin. Yet even now when
he was ware of Odysseus standing by, he wagged his tail and
dropped both his ears, but nearer to his master he had not
now the strength to draw. But Odysseus looked aside and
wiped away a tear that he easily hid from Eumaeus, and
straightway he asked him, saying:

'Eumaeus, verily this is a great marvel, this hound lying
here in the dung. Truly he is goodly of growth, but I know
not certainly if he have speed with this beauty, or if he
be comely only, like as are men's trencher dogs that their
lords keep for the pleasure of the eye.'

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 'In very
truth this is the dog of a man that has died in a far land.
If he were what once he was in limb and in the feats of the
chase, when Odysseus left him to go to Troy, soon wouldst
thou marvel at the sight of his swiftness and his strength.
There was no beast that could flee from him in the deep
places of the wood, when he was in pursuit; for even on a
track he was the keenest hound. But now he is holden in an
evil case, and his lord hath perished far from his own
country, and the careless women take no charge of him. Nay,
thralls are no more inclined to honest service when their
masters have lost the dominion, for Zeus, of the far-borne
voice, takes away the half of a man's virtue, when the day
of slavery comes upon him.'

Therewith he passed within the fair-lying house, and went
straight to the hall, to the company of the proud wooers.
But upon Argos came the fate of black death even in the
hour that he beheld Odysseus again, in the twentieth year.

Now godlike Telemachus was far the first to behold the
swineherd as he came into the hall, and straightway then he
beckoned and called him to his side. So Eumaeus looked
about and took a settle that lay by him, where the carver
was wont to sit dividing much flesh among the wooers that
were feasting in the house. This seat he carried and set by
the table of Telemachus over against him, and there sat
down himself. And the henchman took a mess and served it
him, and wheaten bread out of the basket.

And close behind him Odysseus entered the house in the
guise of a beggar, a wretched man and an old, leaning on
his staff, and clothed on with sorry raiment. And he sat
down on the ashen threshold within the doorway, leaning
against a pillar of cypress wood, which the carpenter on a
time had deftly planed, and thereon made straight the line.
And Telemachus called the swineherd to him, and took a
whole loaf out of the fair basket, and of flesh so much as
his hands could hold in their grasp, saying:

'Take and give this to the stranger, and bid him go about
and beg himself of all the wooers in their turn, for shame
is an ill mate of a needy man.'

So he spake, and the swineherd went when he heard that
saying, and stood by and spake to him winged words:

'Stranger, Telemachus gives thee these and bids thee go
about and beg of all the wooers in their turn, for, he
says, "shame ill becomes a beggar man."'

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him and said: 'King
Zeus, grant me that Telemachus may be happy among men, and
may he have all his heart's desire!'

Therewith he took the gift in both hands, and set it there
before his feet on his unsightly scrip. Then he ate meat so
long as the minstrel was singing in the halls. When he had
done supper, and the divine minstrel was ending his song,
then the wooers raised a clamour through the halls; but
Athene stood by Odysseus, son of Laertes, and moved him to
go gathering morsels of bread among the wooers, and learn
which were righteous and which unjust. Yet not even so was
she fated to redeem one man of them from an evil doom. So
he set out, beginning on the right, to ask of each man,
stretching out his hand on every side, as though he were a
beggar from of old. And they in pity gave him somewhat, and
were amazed at the man, asking one another who he was and
whence he came?

Then Melanthius, the goatherd, spake among them:

'Listen, ye wooers of the renowned queen, concerning this
stranger, for verily I have seen him before. The swineherd
truly was his guide hither, but of him I have no certain
knowledge, whence he avows him to be born.'

So spake he, but Antinous rebuked the swineherd, saying:
'Oh notorious swineherd, wherefore, I pray thee, didst thou
bring this man to the city? Have we not vagrants enough
besides, plaguy beggars, kill-joys of the feast? Dost thou
count it a light thing that they assemble here and devour
the living of thy master, but thou must needs {*} call in
this man too?'

{* [Greek] can hardly have a local meaning here. If
retained, it must be nearly equivalent to [Greek], 'it
seems,' with a touch of irony. Cf. i.348. The v. 1. [Greek]
is a simpler reading, but by no means certain.}

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 'Antinous,
no fair words are these of thine, noble though thou art.
For who ever himself seeks out and bids to the feast a
stranger from afar, save only one of those that are
craftsmen of the people, a prophet or a healer of ills, or
a shipwright or even a godlike minstrel, who can delight
all with his song? Nay, these are the men that are welcome
over all the wide earth. But none would call a beggar to
the banquet, to waste his substance. But thou art ever hard
above all the other wooers to the servants of Odysseus,
and, beyond all, to me; but behold, I care not, so long as
my mistress, the constant Penelope, lives in the halls and
godlike Telemachus.'

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: 'Be silent,
answer him not, I pray thee, with many words, for Antinous
is wont ever to chide us shamefully with bitter speech,
yea, and urges the others thereto.'

Therewithal he spake winged words to Antinous: 'Antinous,
verily thou hast a good care for me, as it were a father
for his son, thou that biddest me drive our guest from the
hall with a harsh command. God forbid that such a thing
should be! Take somewhat and give it him: lo, I grudge it
not; nay, I charge thee to do it. And herein regard not my
mother, nor any of the thralls that are in the house of
divine Odysseus. Nay, but thou hast no such thought in thy
heart, for thou art far more fain to eat thyself than to
give to another.'

Then Antinous answered him and spake, saying: 'Telemachus,
proud of speech, and unrestrained in fury, what word hast
thou spoken? If all the wooers should vouchsafe him as much
as I, this house would keep him far enough aloof even for
three months' space.'

So he spake, and seized the footstool whereon he rested his
sleek feet as he sat at the feast, and showed it from
beneath the table where it lay. But all the others gave
somewhat and filled the wallet with bread and flesh; yea,
and even now, Odysseus as he returned to the threshold, was
like to escape scot free, making trial of the Achaeans, but
he halted by Antinous, and spake to him, saying:

'Friend, give me somewhat; for methinks thou art not the
basest of the Achaeans, but the best man of them all, for
thou art like a king. Wherefore thou shouldest give me a
portion of bread, and that a better than the others; so
would I make thee renowned over all the wide earth. For I
too, once had a house of mine own among men, a rich man
with a wealthy house, and many a time would I give to a
wanderer, what manner of man soever he might be, and in
whatsoever need he came. And I had thralls out of number,
and all else in plenty, wherewith folk live well and have a
name for riches. But Zeus, the son of Cronos, made me
desolate of all,--for surely it was his will,--who sent me
with wandering sea-robbers to go to Egypt, a far road, to
my ruin. And in the river Aegyptus I stayed my curved
ships. Then verily I bade my loved companions to abide
there by the ships, and to guard the ship, and I sent forth
scouts to range the points of outlook. Now they gave place
to wantonness, being the fools of their own force, and soon
they fell to wasting the fields of the Egyptians, exceeding
fair, and carried away their wives and infant children, and
slew the men. And the cry came quickly to the city, and the
people heard the shout and came forth at the breaking of
the day; and all the plain was filled with footmen and
horsemen and with the glitter of bronze. And Zeus, whose
joy is in the thunder, sent an evil panic upon my company,
and none durst stand and face the foe: for danger
encompassed us on every side. There they slew many of us
with the edge of the sword, and others they led up with
them alive to work for them perforce. But they gave me to a
friend who met them, to take to Cyprus, even to Dmetor son
of Iasus, who ruled mightily over Cyprus; and thence,
behold, am I now come hither in sore distress.'

Then Antinous answered, and spake, saying: 'What god hath
brought this plague hither to trouble the feast? Stand
forth thus in the midst, away from my table, lest thou come
soon to a bitter Egypt and a sad Cyprus; for a bold beggar
art thou and a shameless. Thou standest by all in turn and
recklessly they give to thee, for they hold not their hand
nor feel any ruth in giving freely of others' goods, for
that each man has plenty by him.'

Then Odysseus of many counsels drew back and answered him:
'Lo now, I see thou hast not wisdom with thy beauty! From
out of thine own house thou wouldest not give even so much
as a grain of salt to thy suppliant, thou who now even at
another's board dost sit, and canst not find it in thy
heart to take of the bread and give it me, where there is
plenty to thy hand.'

He spake, and Antinous was mightily angered at heart, and
looked fiercely on him and spake winged words:

'Henceforth, methinks, thou shalt not get thee out with
honour from the hall, seeing thou dost even rail upon me.'

Therewith he caught up the foot-stool and smote Odysseus at
the base of the right shoulder by the back. But he stood
firm as a rock, nor reeled he beneath the blow of Antinous,
but shook his head in silence, brooding evil in the deep of
his heart. Then he went back to the threshold, and sat him
there, and laid down his well-filled scrip, and spake among
the wooers:

'Hear me, ye wooers of the renowned queen, and I will say
what my spirit within me bids me. Verily there is neither
pain nor grief of heart, when a man is smitten in battle
fighting for his own possessions, whether cattle or white
sheep. But now Antinous hath stricken me for my wretched
belly's sake, a thing accursed, that works much ill for
men. Ah, if indeed there be gods and Avengers of beggars,
may the issues of death come upon Antinous before his

Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, answered him: 'Sit and eat
thy meat in quiet, stranger, or get thee elsewhere, lest
the young men drag thee by hand or foot through the house
for thy evil words, and strip all thy flesh from off thee.'

Even so he spake, and they were all exceeding wroth at his
word. And on this wise would one of the lordly young men

'Antinous, thou didst ill to strike the hapless wanderer,
doomed man that thou art,--if indeed there be a god in
heaven. Yea and the gods, in the likeness of strangers from
far countries, put on all manner of shapes, and wander
through the cities, beholding the violence and the
righteousness of men.'

So the wooers spake, but he heeded not their words. Now
Telemachus nursed in his heart a mighty grief at the
smiting of Odysseus, yet he let no tear fall from his
eyelids to the ground, but shook his head in silence,
brooding evil in the deep of his heart.

Now when wise Penelope heard of the stranger being smitten
in the halls, she spake among her maidens, saying:

'Oh that Apollo, the famed archer, may so smite thee
thyself, Antinous!'

And the house-dame, Eurynome, answered her, saying: 'Oh
that we might win fulfilment of our prayers! So should not
one of these men come to the fair-throned Dawn.'

And wise Penelope answered her: 'Nurse, they are all
enemies, for they all devise evil continually, but of them
all Antinous is the most like to black fate. Some hapless
stranger is roaming about the house, begging alms of the
men, as his need bids him; and all the others filled his
wallet and gave him somewhat, but Antinous smote him at the
base of the right shoulder with a stool.'

So she spake among her maidens, sitting in her chamber,
while goodly Odysseus was at meat. Then she called to her
the goodly swineherd and spake, saying:

'Go thy way, goodly Eumaeus, and bid the stranger come
hither, that I may speak him a word of greeting, and ask
him if haply he has heard tidings of Odysseus of the hardy
heart, or seen him with his eyes; for he seems like one
that has wandered far.'

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 'Queen, oh
that the Achaeans would hold their peace! so would he charm
thy very heart, such things doth he say. For I kept him
three nights and three days I held him in the steading, for
to me he came first when he fled from the ship, yet he had
not made an end of the tale of his affliction. Even as when
a man gazes on a singer, whom the gods have taught to sing
words of yearning joy to mortals, and they have a ceaseless
desire to hear him, so long as he will sing; even so he
charmed me, sitting by me in the halls. He says that he is
a friend of Odysseus and of his house, one that dwells in
Crete, where is the race of Minos. Thence he has come
hither even now, with sorrow by the way, onward and yet
onward wandering; and he stands to it that he has heard
tidings of Odysseus nigh at hand and yet alive in the fat
land of the men of Thesprotia; and he is bringing many
treasures to his home.'

Then wise Penelope answered him, saying: 'Go, call him
hither, that he may speak to me face to face. But let these
men sit in the doorway and take their pleasure, or even
here in the house, since their heart is glad. For their own
wealth lies unspoiled at home, bread and sweet wine, and
thereon do their servants feed. But they resorting to our
house day by day sacrifice oxen and sheep and fat goats,
and keep revel and drink the dark wine recklessly; and, lo,
our great wealth is wasted, for there is no man now alive,
such as Odysseus was, to keep ruin from the house. Oh, if
Odysseus might come again to his own country; soon would he
and his son avenge the violence of these men!'

Even so she spake, and Telemachus sneezed loudly, and
around the roof rang wondrously. And Penelope laughed, and
straightway spake to Eumaeus winged words:

'Go, call me the stranger, even so, into my presence. Dost
thou not mark how my son has sneezed a blessing on all my
words? Wherefore no half-wrought doom shall befal the
wooers every one, nor shall any avoid death and the fates.
Yet another thing will I say, and do thou ponder it in thy
heart. If I shall find that he himself speaks nought but
truth, I will clothe him with a mantle and a doublet,
goodly raiment.'

So she spake, and the swineherd departed when he heard that
saying, and stood by the stranger and spake winged words:

'Father and stranger, wise Penelope, the mother of
Telemachus, is calling for thee, and her mind bids her
inquire as touching her lord, albeit she has sorrowed much
already. And if she shall find that thou dost speak nought
but truth, she will clothe thee in a mantle and a doublet,
whereof thou standest most in need. Moreover thou shalt beg
thy bread through the land and shalt fill thy belly, and
whosoever will, shall give to thee.'

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him, saying:
'Eumaeus, soon would I tell all the truth to the daughter
of Icarius, wise Penelope, for well I know his story, and
we have borne our travail together. But I tremble before
the throng of the froward wooers, whose outrage and
violence reach even to the iron heaven. For even now, as I
was going through the house, when this man struck and
pained me sore, and that for no ill deed, neither
Telemachus nor any other kept off the blow. Wherefore now,
bid Penelope tarry in the chambers, for all her eagerness,
till the going down of the sun, and then let her ask me
concerning her lord, as touching the day of his returning,
and let her give me a seat yet nearer to the fire, for
behold, I have sorry raiment, and thou knowest it thyself,
since I made my supplication first to thee.'

Even so he spake, and the swineherd departed when he heard
that saying. And as he crossed the threshold Penelope spake
to him:

'Thou bringest him not, Eumaeus: what means the wanderer
hereby? Can it be that he fears some one out of measure, or
is he even ashamed of tarrying in the house? A shamefaced
man makes a bad beggar.'

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 'He speaks
aright, and but as another would deem, in that he shuns the
outrage of overweening men. Rather would he have thee wait
till the going down of the sun. Yea, and it is far meeter
for thyself, O queen, to utter thy word to the stranger
alone, and to listen to his speech.'

Then the wise Penelope answered: 'Not witless is the
stranger; even as he deems, so it well may be. {*} For
there are no mortal men, methinks, so wanton as these, and
none that devise such infatuate deeds.'

{* Placing at colon at [Greek], and reading [Greek] (cf.

So she spake, and the goodly swineherd departed into the
throng of the wooers, when he had showed her all his
message. And straightway he spake to Telemachus winged
words, holding his head close to him, that the others might
not hear:

'Friend, I am going hence to look after thy swine and the
things of the farm, thy livelihood and mine; but do thou
take charge of all that is here. Yet first look to thyself
and take heed that no evil comes nigh thee, for many of the
Achaeans have ill will against us, whom may Zeus confound
before their mischief falls on us!'

And wise Telemachus answered him, and said: 'Even so shall
it be, father; and do thou get thee on thy way, when thou
hast supped. And in the morning come again, and bring fair
victims for sacrifice. And all these matters will be a care
to me and to the deathless gods.'

Thus he spake, and the other sat down again on the polished
settle; and when he had satisfied his heart with meat and
drink, he went on his way to the swine, leaving the courts
and the hall full of feasters; and they were making merry
with dance and song, for already it was close on eventide.