Odysseus maketh himself known to Penelope, tells his
adventures briefly, and in the morning goes to Laertes and
makes himself known to him.

Then the ancient woman went up into the upper chamber
laughing aloud, to tell her mistress how her dear lord was
within, and her knees moved fast for joy, and her feet
stumbled one over the other; and she stood above the lady's
head and spake to her, saying:

'Awake, Penelope, dear child, that thou mayest see with
thine own eyes that which thou desirest day by day.
Odysseus hath come, and hath got him to his own house,
though late hath he come, and hath slain the proud wooers
that troubled his house, and devoured his substance, and
oppressed his child.'

Then wise Penelope answered her: 'Dear nurse, the gods have
made thee distraught, the gods that can make foolish even
the wisdom of the wise, and that stablish the simple in
understanding. They it is that have marred thy reason,
though heretofore thou hadst a prudent heart. Why dost thou
mock me, who have a spirit full of sorrow, to speak these
wild words, and rousest me out of sweet slumber, that had
bound me and overshadowed mine eyelids? Never yet have I
slept so sound since the day that Odysseus went forth to
see that evil Ilios, never to be named. Go to now, get thee
down and back to the women's chamber, for if any other of
the maids of my house had come and brought me such tidings,
and wakened me from sleep, straightway would I have sent
her back woefully to return within the women's chamber; but
this time thine old age shall stand thee in good stead.'

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered her: 'I mock thee
not, dear child, but in very deed Odysseus is here, and
hath come home, even as I tell thee. He is that guest on
whom all men wrought such dishonour in the halls. But long
ago Telemachus was ware of him, that he was within the
house, yet in his prudence he hid the counsels of his
father, that he might take vengeance on the violence of the
haughty wooers.'

Thus she spake, and then was Penelope glad, and leaping
from her bed she fell on the old woman's neck, and let fall
the tears from her eyelids, and uttering her voice spake to
her winged words: 'Come, dear nurse, I pray thee, tell me
all truly--if indeed he hath come home as thou sayest--how
he hath laid his hands on the shameless wooers, he being
but one man, while they abode ever in their companies
within the house.'

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered her: 'I saw not, I
wist not, only I heard the groaning of men slain. And we in
an inmost place of the well-builded chambers sat all
amazed, and the close-fitted doors shut in the room, till
thy son called me from the chamber, for his father sent him
out to that end. Then I found Odysseus standing among the
slain, who around him, stretched on the hard floor, lay one
upon the other; it would have comforted thy heart to see
him, all stained like a lion with blood and soil of battle.
And now are all the wooers gathered in an heap by the gates
of the court, while he is purifying his fair house with
brimstone, and hath kindled a great fire, and hath sent me
forth to call thee. So come with me, that ye may both enter
into your heart's delight, {*} for ye have suffered much
affliction. And even now hath this thy long desire been
fulfilled; thy lord hath come alive to his own hearth, and
hath found both thee and his son in the halls; and the
wooers that wrought him evil he hath slain, every man of
them in his house.'

{* Reading [Greek]... [Greek].}

Then wise Penelope answered her: 'Dear nurse, boast not yet
over them with laughter. Thou knowest how welcome the sight
of him would be in the halls to all, and to me in chief,
and to his son that we got between us. But this is no true
tale, as thou declarest it, nay but it is one of the
deathless gods that hath slain the proud wooers, in wrath
at their bitter insolence and evil deeds. For they honoured
none of earthly men, neither the good nor yet the bad, that
came among them. Wherefore they have suffered an evil doom
through their own infatuate deeds. But Odysseus, far away
hath lost his homeward path to the Achaean land, and
himself is lost.'

Then the good nurse Eurycleia made answer to her: 'My
child, what word hath escaped the door of thy lips, in that
thou saidest that thy lord, who is even now within, and by
his own hearthstone, would return no more? Nay, thy heart
is ever hard of belief. Go to now, and I will tell thee
besides a most manifest token, even the scar of the wound
that the boar on a time dealt him with his white tusk.
This I spied while washing his feet, and fain I would have
told it even to thee, but he laid his hand on my mouth, and
in the fulness of his wisdom suffered me not to speak. But
come with me and I will stake my life on it; and if I play
thee false, do thou slay me by a death most pitiful.'

Then wise Penelope made answer to her: 'Dear nurse, it is
hard for thee, how wise soever, to observe the purposes of
the everlasting gods. None the less let us go to my child,
that I may see the wooers dead, and him that slew them.'

With that word she went down from the upper chamber, and
much her heart debated, whether she should stand apart, and
question her dear lord or draw nigh, and clasp and kiss his
head and hands. But when she had come within and had
crossed the threshold of stone, she sat down over against
Odysseus, in the light of the fire, by the further wall.
Now he was sitting by the tall pillar, looking down and
waiting to know if perchance his noble wife would speak to
him, when her eyes beheld him. But she sat long in silence,
and amazement came upon her soul, and now she would look
upon him steadfastly with her eyes, and now again she knew
him not, for that he was clad in vile raiment. And
Telemachus rebuked her, and spake and hailed her:

'Mother mine, ill mother, of an ungentle heart, why turnest
thou thus away from my father, and dost not sit by him and
question him and ask him all? No other woman in the world
would harden her heart to stand thus aloof from her lord,
who after much travail and sore had come to her in the
twentieth year to his own country. But thy heart is ever
harder than stone.'

Then wise Penelope answered him, saying: 'Child, my mind is
amazed within me, and I have no strength to speak, nor to
ask him aught, nay nor to look on him face to face. But if
in truth this be Odysseus, and he hath indeed come home,
verily we shall be ware of each other the more surely, for
we have tokens that we twain know, even we, secret from all

So she spake, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus smiled, and
quickly he spake to Telemachus winged words: 'Telemachus,
leave now thy mother to make trial of me within the
chambers; so shall she soon come to a better knowledge than
heretofore. But now I go filthy, and am clad in vile
raiment, wherefore she has me in dishonour, and as yet will
not allow that I am he. Let us then advise us how all may
be for the very best. For whoso has slain but one man in a
land, even that one leaves not many behind him to take up
the feud for him, turns outlaw and leaves his kindred and
his own country; but we have slain the very stay of the
city, the men who were far the best of all the noble youths
in Ithaca. So this I bid thee consider.'

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: 'Father, see
thou to this, for they say that thy counsel is far the best
among men, nor might any other of mortal men contend with
thee. But right eagerly will we go with thee now, and I
think we shall not lack prowess, so far as might is ours.'

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 'Yea
now, I will tell on what wise methinks it is best. First,
go ye to the bath and array you in your doublets, and bid
the maidens in the chambers to take to them their garments.
Then let the divine minstrel, with his loud lyre in hand,
lead off for us the measure of the mirthful dance. So shall
any man that hears the sound from without, whether a
wayfarer or one of those that dwell around, say that it is
a wedding feast. And thus the slaughter of the wooers shall
not be noised abroad through the town before we go forth to
our well-wooded farm-land. Thereafter shall we consider
what gainful counsel the Olympian may vouchsafe us.'

So he spake, and they gave good ear and hearkened to him.
So first they went to the bath, and arrayed them in
doublets, and the women were apparelled, and the divine
minstrel took the hollow harp, and aroused in them the
desire of sweet song and of the happy dance. Then the great
hall rang round them with the sound of the feet of dancing
men and of fair-girdled women. And whoso heard it from
without would say:

'Surely some one has wedded the queen of many wooers. Hard
of heart was she, nor had she courage to keep the great
house of her wedded lord continually till his coming.'

Even so men spake, and knew not how these things were
ordained. Meanwhile, the house-dame Eurynome had bathed the
great-hearted Odysseus within his house, and anointed him
with olive-oil, and cast about him a goodly mantle and a
doublet. Moreover Athene shed great beauty from his head
downwards, and made him greater and more mighty to behold,
and from his head caused deep curling locks to flow, like
the hyacinth flower. And as when some skilful man overlays
gold upon silver, one that Hephaestus and Pallas Athene
have taught all manner of craft, and full of grace is his
handiwork, even so did Athene shed grace about his head and
shoulders, and forth from the bath he came, in form like to
the immortals. Then he sat down again on the high seat,
whence he had arisen, over against his wife, and spake to
her, saying:

'Strange lady, surely to thee above all womankind the
Olympians have given a heart that cannot be softened. No
other woman in the world would harden her heart to stand
thus aloof from her husband, who after much travail and
sore had come to her, in the twentieth year, to his own
country. Nay come, nurse, strew a bed for me to lie all
alone, for assuredly her spirit within her is as iron.'

Then wise Penelope answered him again: 'Strange man, I have
no proud thoughts nor do I think scorn of thee, nor am I
too greatly astonied, but I know right well what manner of
man thou wert, when thou wentest forth out of Ithaca, on
the long-oared galley. But come, Eurycleia, spread for him
the good bedstead outside the stablished bridal chamber
that he built himself. Thither bring ye forth the good
bedstead and cast bedding thereon, even fleeces and rugs
and shining blankets.'

So she spake and made trial of her lord, but Odysseus in
sore displeasure spake to his true wife, saying: 'Verily a
bitter word is this, lady, that thou hast spoken. Who has
set my bed otherwhere? Hard it would be for one, how
skilled so ever, unless a god were to come that might
easily set it in another place, if so he would. But of men
there is none living, howsoever strong in his youth, that
could lightly upheave it, for a great token is wrought in
the fashioning of the bed, and it was I that made it and
none other. There was growing a bush of olive, long of
leaf, and most goodly of growth, within the inner court,
and the stem as large as a pillar. Round about this I built
the chamber, till I had finished it, with stones close set,
and I roofed it over well and added thereto compacted doors
fitting well. Next I sheared off all the light wood of the
long-leaved olive, and rough-hewed the trunk upwards from
the root, and smoothed it around with the adze, well and
skilfully, and made straight the line thereto and so
fashioned it into the bedpost, and I bored it all with the
auger. Beginning from this bedpost, I wrought at the
bedstead till I had finished it, and made it fair with
inlaid work of gold and of silver and of ivory. Then I made
fast therein a bright purple band of oxhide. Even so I
declare to thee this token, and I know not, lady, if the
bedstead be yet fast in his place, or if some man has cut
away the stem of the olive tree, and set the bedstead

So he spake, and at once her knees were loosened, and her
heart melted within her, as she knew the sure tokens that
Odysseus showed her. Then she fell a weeping, and ran
straight toward him and cast her hands about his neck, and
kissed his head and spake, saying:

'Be not angry with me, Odysseus, for thou wert ever at
other times the wisest of men. It is the gods that gave us
sorrow, the gods who begrudged us that we should abide
together and have joy of our youth, and come to the
threshold of old age. So now be not wroth with me hereat
nor full of indignation, because at the first, when I saw
thee, I did not welcome thee straightway. For always my
heart within my breast shuddered, for fear lest some man
should come and deceive me with his words, for many they be
that devise gainful schemes and evil. Nay even Argive
Helen, daughter of Zeus, would not have lain with a
stranger, and taken him for a lover, had she known that the
warlike sons of the Achaeans would bring her home again to
her own dear country. Howsoever, it was the god that set
her upon this shameful deed; nor ever, ere that, did she
lay up in her heart the thought of this folly, a bitter
folly, whence on us too first came sorrow. But now that
thou hast told all the sure tokens of our bed, which never
was seen by mortal man, save by thee and me and one maiden
only, the daughter of Actor, that my father gave me ere yet
I had come hither, she who kept the doors of our strong
bridal chamber, even now dost thou bend my soul, all
ungentle as it is.'

Thus she spake, and in his heart she stirred yet a greater
longing to lament, and he wept as he embraced his beloved
wife and true. And even as when the sight of land is
welcome to swimmers, whose well-wrought ship Poseidon hath
smitten on the deep, all driven with the wind and swelling
waves, and but a remnant hath escaped the grey sea-water
and swum to the shore, and their bodies are all crusted
with the brine, and gladly have they set foot on land and
escaped an evil end; so welcome to her was the sight of her
lord, and her white arms she would never quite let go from
his neck. And now would the rosy-fingered Dawn have risen
upon their weeping, but the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, had
other thoughts. The night she held long in the utmost West,
and on the other side she stayed the golden-throned Dawn by
the stream Oceanus, and suffered her not to harness the
swift-footed steeds that bear light to men, Lampus and
Phaethon, the steeds ever young, that bring the morning.

Then at the last, Odysseus of many counsels spake to his
wife, saying: 'Lady, we have not yet come to the issue of
all our labours; but still there will be toil unmeasured,
long and difficult, that I must needs bring to a full end.
Even so the spirit of Teiresias foretold to me, on that day
when I went down into the house of Hades, to inquire after
a returning for myself and my company. Wherefore come,
lady, let us to bed, that forthwith we may take our joy of
rest beneath the spell of sweet sleep.'

Then wise Penelope answered him: 'Thy bed verily shall be
ready whensoever thy soul desires it, forasmuch as the gods
have indeed caused thee to come back to thy stablished home
and thine own country. But now that thou hast noted it and
the god has put it into thy heart, come, tell me of this
ordeal, for methinks the day will come when I must learn
it, and timely knowledge is no hurt.'

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 'Ah, why
now art thou so instant with me to declare it? Yet I will
tell thee all and hide nought. Howbeit thy heart shall have
no joy of it, as even I myself have no pleasure therein.
For Teiresias bade me fare to many cities of men, carrying
a shapen oar in my hands, till I should come to such men as
know not the sea, neither eat meat savoured with salt, nor
have they knowledge of ships of purple cheek nor of shapen
oars, which serve for wings to ships. And he told me this
with manifest token, which I will not hide from thee. In
the day when another wayfarer should meet me and say that I
had a winnowing fan on my stout shoulder, even then he bade
me make fast my shapen oar in the earth, and do goodly
sacrifice to the lord Poseidon, even with a ram and a bull
and a boar, the mate of swine, and depart for home, and
offer holy hecatombs to the deathless gods, that keep the
wide heaven, to each in order due. And from the sea shall
mine own death come, the gentlest death that may be, which
shall end me, foredone, with smooth old age, and the folk
shall dwell happily around. All this, he said, was to be

Then wise Penelope answered him saying: 'If indeed the gods
will bring about for thee a happier old age at the last,
then is there hope that thou mayest yet have an escape from

Thus they spake one to the other. Meanwhile, Eurynome and
the nurse spread the bed with soft coverlets, by the light
of the torches burning. But when they had busied them and
spread the good bed, the ancient nurse went back to her
chamber to lie down, and Eurynome, the bower-maiden, guided
them on their way to the couch, with torches in her hands,
and when she had led them to the bridal-chamber she
departed. And so they came gladly to the rites of their
bed, as of old. But Telemachus, and the neatherd, and the
swineherd stayed their feet from dancing, and made the
women to cease, and themselves gat them to rest through the
shadowy halls.

Now when the twain had taken their fill of sweet love, they
had delight in the tales, which they told one to the other.
The fair lady spoke of all that she had endured in the
halls at the sight of the ruinous throng of wooers, who for
her sake slew many cattle, kine and goodly sheep; and many
a cask of wine was broached. And in turn, Odysseus, of the
seed of Zeus, recounted all the griefs he had wrought on
men, and all his own travail and sorrow, and she was
delighted with the story, and sweet sleep fell not upon her
eyelids till the tale was ended.

He began by setting forth how he overcame the Cicones, and
next arrived at the rich land of the Lotus-eaters, and all
that the Cyclops wrought, and what a price he got from him
for the good companions that he devoured, and showed no
pity. Then how he came to Aeolus, who received him gladly
and sent him on his way; but it was not yet ordained that
he should reach his own country, for the storm-wind seized
him again, and bare him over the teeming seas, making
grievous moan. Next how he came to Telepylus of the
Laestrygonians, who brake his ships and slew all his
goodly-greaved companions, and Odysseus only escaped with
his black ship. Then he told all the wiles and many
contrivances of Circe, and how in a benched ship he fared
to the dank house of Hades, to seek to the soul of Theban
Teiresias. There he beheld all those that had been his
companions, and his mother who bore him and nurtured him,
while yet he was a little one. Then how he heard the song
of the full-voiced Sirens, and came to the Rocks Wandering,
and to terrible Charybdis, and to Scylla, that never yet
have men avoided scatheless. Next he told how his company
slew the kine of Helios, and how Zeus, that thunders on
high, smote the swift ship with the flaming bolt, and the
good crew perished all together, and he alone escaped from
evil fates. And how he came to the isle Ogygia, and to the
nymph Calypso, who kept him there in her hollow caves,
longing to have him for her lord, and nurtured him and said
that she would make him never to know death or age all his
days: yet she never won his heart within his breast. Next
how with great toil he came to the Phaeacians, who gave him
all worship heartily, as to a god, and sent him with a ship
to his own dear country, with gifts of bronze, and of gold,
and raiment in plenty. This was the last word of the tale,
when sweet sleep came speedily upon him, sleep that loosens
the limbs of men, unknitting the cares of his soul.

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, turned to new thoughts.
When she deemed that Odysseus had taken his fill of love
and sleep, straightway she aroused from out Oceanus the
golden-throned Dawn, to bear light to men. Then Odysseus
gat him from his soft bed, and laid this charge on his
wife, saying:

'Lady, already have we had enough of labours, thou and I;
thou, in weeping here, and longing for my troublous return,
I, while Zeus and the other gods bound me fast in pain,
despite my yearning after home, away from mine own country.
But now that we both have come to the bed of our desire,
take thou thought for the care of my wealth within the
halls. But as for the sheep that the proud wooers have
slain, I myself will lift many more as spoil, and others
the Achaeans will give, till they fill all my folds. But
now, behold, I go to the well-wooded farm-land, to see my
good father, who for love of me has been in sorrow
continually. And this charge I lay on thee, lady, too wise
though thou art to need it. Quickly will the bruit go forth
with the rising sun, the bruit concerning the wooers, whom
I slew in the halls. Wherefore ascend with the women thy
handmaids into the upper chamber, and sit there and look on
no man, nor ask any question.'

Therewith he girded on his shoulder his goodly armour, and
roused Telemachus and the neatherd and the swineherd, and
bade them all take weapons of war in their hands. So they
were not disobedient to his word, but clad themselves in
mail, and opened the doors and went forth, and Odysseus led
the way. And now there was light over all the earth; but
them Athene hid in night, and quickly conducted out of the