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as the dogs barked not, said to Eumasus,
" Lo ! there comes some comrade or friend, for
the dog^s bark not."


And as he spake, Telemachus stood in the
doorway; and the swineherd let fall from his
hand the bowl in which he was mixing wine,
and ran to him and kissed his head and his
eyes and his hands. As a father kisses his
only son, coming back to him from a far coun-
try after ten years, so did the swineherd kiss
Telemachus. And when Telemachus came
in, the false beggar, though indeed he was his
father, rose, and would have given place to
him ; but Telemachus suffered him not. And
when they had eaten and drunk, Telemachus
asked of the swineherd who this stranger
might be.

Then the swineherd told him as he had
heard, and afterwards said, " I hand him to
thee : he is thy suppliant ; do as thou wilt."


But Telemachus answered: " Nay, Eumaeus.
For am I master in my house ? Do not the
suitors devour it ? And does not "my mother
doubt whether she will abide with me, remem-
bering the great Ulysses, who was her hus-
band, or will follow some one of those who are
suitors to her ? I will give this stranger, in-
deed, food and clothing and a sword, and will
send him whithersoever he will, but I would
not that he should go among the suitors, so
haughty are they and violent."

Then said Ulysses : " But why dost thou
bear with these men ? Do the people hate
thee, that thou canst not avenge thyself on
them? and hast thou not kinsmen to help
thee ? As for me, I would rather die than
see such shameful things done in house of


And Telemachus answered : " My people
hate me not ; but as for kinsmen, I have none,
for Acrisius had but one son, Laertes, and
he again but one, Ulysses, and Ulysses had
none other but me. Therefore do these
men spoil my substance without let, and, it


may be, will take my life also. These things,
however, the gods will order. But do thou,
Eumaeus, go to Penelope, and tell her that
I am returned ; but let no man know thereof,
for there are that counsel evil against me ;
but I will stay here meanwhile."

So Eumaeus departed. But when he had
gone, Athene came, like a woman tall and fair;
but Telemachus saw her not, for it is not given
to all to see the immortal gods ; but Ulysses
saw her, and the dogs saw her, and whimpered
for fear. She signed to Ulysses, and he went
forth, and she said :

" Hide not the matter from thy son, but plan
with him how ye may slay the suitors, and lo !
I am with you."

Then she touched him with her golden
wand. First she put about him a fresh robe
of linen and new tunic. Also she made him
larger and fairer to behold. More dark did he
grow, and his cheeks were rounded again, and
the beard spread out black upon his chin.

Having so done, she passed away. But
when Ulysses went into the hut, his son looked


at him, greatly marvelling. Indeed, he feared
that it might be some god.

" Stranger," he said, " surely thou art not
what thou wast but a moment since ; other
garments hast thou, and the colour of thy skin
is changed. Verily, thou must be some god
from heaven. Stay awhile, that we may offer to
thee sacrifice, so shalt thou have mercy on us ! '

Ulysses made answer, " I am no god ; I am
thy father, for whom thou hast sought with
much trouble of heart."

So saying he kissed his son, and let fall a
tear, but before he had kept in his tears con-

But Telemachus, doubting yet whether this
could indeed be his father, made reply : " Thou
canst not be my father; some god beguileth
me that I may have sorrow upon sorrow. No
mortal man could contrive this of his own wit,
making himself now young, now old, at his
pleasure. A moment since thou wast old, and
clad in vile garments; now thou art as one of
the gods in heaven."

But Ulysses answered him, saying : " Telem-


achus, it is not fitting for thee to marvel so
much at thy father's coming home. It is
indeed my very self who am come, having suf-
fered many things and wandered over many
lands, now at last in the twentieth year. And
this at which thou wonderest is Athene's work;
she it is that maketh me now like to an old
man and a beggar and now to a young man
clad in rich raiment."

So speaking, he sat him down again, and
Telemachus threw himself upon his father's
neck, mourning and shedding tears. So they
two lamented together, even as eagles of the sea
or vultures whose young ones have been taken
from the nest before they are fledged. So had
they gone on till set of sun, but Telemachus
said to his father, " Tell me how thou earnest
back, my father ? '

So Ulysses told him, saying: "The Phasa-
cians brought me back from their country
while I slept. Many gifts did they send with
me. These have I hidden in a cave. And to
this place have I come by the counsel of
Athene, that we may plan together for the


slaying of the suitors. But come, tell me the
number of the suitors, how many they are and
what manner of men. Shall we twain be able
to make war upon them or must we get the
help of others ? '

Then said Telemachus : " Thou art, I know,
a great warrior, my father, and a wise, but this
thing we cannot do ; for these men are not ten,
no, nor twice ten, but from Dulichium come
fifty and two, and from Samos four and twenty,
and from Zacynthus twenty, and from Ithaca
twelve ; and they have Medon, die herald, and
a minstrel also, and attendants."

Then said Ulysses : " Go thou home in the
morning and mingle with the suitors, and I
will come as an old beggar ; and if they entreat
me shamefully, endure to see it, yea, if they
drag me to the door. Only, if thou wilt, speak
to them prudent words ; but they will not heed
thee, for indeed their doom is near. Heed this
also : when I give thee the token, take all the
arms from the dwelling and hide them in thy
chamber. And when they shall ask thee why
thou doest thus, say that thou takest them out


of the smoke, for that they are not such as
Ulysses left behind him when he went to Troy,
but that the smoke has soiled them. Say,
also, that haply they might stir up strife sitting
at their cups, and that it is not well that arms
should be at hand, for that the very steel draws
on a man to fight. But keep two swords and
two spears and two shields these shall be
for thee and me. Only let no one know of my
coming back not Laertes, nor the swineherd,
no, nor Penelope herself."

Meanwhile the ship of Telemachus came to
the city. The gifts the men carried to the
house of Clytius ; but a herald went to the
palace with tidings for Penelope, lest she
should be troubled for her son. So these two,
the herald and the swineherd, came together,
having the same errand. The herald spake out
among the handmaids, saying : " O Queen, thy
son is returned from Pylos ! ' But the swine-
herd went up to Penelope by herself, and told
her all that Telemachus had bidden him to
say. When he had so done, he turned about,
and \vent home to his house and to the swine.


But the suitors were troubled in heart ; and
Eurymachus said : " This is a bold thing that
Telemachus hath done. He hath accom-
plished his journey, which we said he never
would accomplish. Let us, therefore, get
rowers together, and send a ship, that we may
bid our friends come back with all the speed
they may."

But even while he spake, Amphinomus
turned him about, and saw the ship in the
harbour, and the men lowering the sails.
Then he laughed and said : " No need is there
to send a message, for the men themselves
have come. Maybe some god hath told them;
maybe they saw the ship of Telemachus go
by, and could not overtake it."

Then all the suitors went together to the
place of assembly, and Antinoiis stood up
and spake : " See how the gods have delivered
this man ! All day long our scouts sat and
watched upon the headlands, one man taking
another's place ; and at sunset we rested not
on the shore, but sailed on the sea, waiting for
the morning. Yet some god hath brought


him home. Nevertheless we will bring him to
an evil end, for so long as he liveth we shall
not accomplish our end. Let us make haste
before he assemble the people and tell them
how we plotted against him. Then will they
hate us, and we shall be driven forth from the
land. Let us slay him, therefore, either in the
field or by the way ; and let us divide his pos-
sessions, but his house will we give to his
mother and to him who shall marry her. But
if ye would rather that he should live, then let
us sit here no more, eating his substance, but
let us go each to his own home, and woo the
Queen from thence with bridal gifts, till one
shall persuade her."

Then spake Amphinomus, not one of the
suitors was of a more understanding heart
than he, " Friends, I would not that Telem-
achus should be slain ; it is a fearful thing
to slay the son of a king. First, let us ask
counsel of the gods. If the oracles of Zeus
approve, then will I slay him with mine own
hand ; but if they forbid, then I w r ould have
you refrain."


Thereupon they departed from the place of
assembly, and went to the house of Ulysses.

Now Penelope had heard from Medon, the
herald, how the suitors had plotted to slay her
son ; therefore went to the hall with her
maidens with her, and stood in the door, hold-
ing her veil before her face, and spake, say-

ing :

" Antinoiis, men say that thou art the best in
counsel and speech of all the princes of Ithaca.
Not such, in truth, do I find thee. Dost thou
plot against the life of my son, having no regard
for the gods, nor any memory of good deeds ?
Dost thou not remember how thy father fled
to this house, fearing the anger of the people ?
He had gone with the Taphians, the sea-
robbers, and had harried a people that was
at peace with us. Therefore the people de-
sired to slay him and to spoil his goods, but
Ulysses withstood them. Yet it is this man's
house that thou dost waste, and his son that
thou wouldest slay."

But Eurymachus made answer : " Take
courage, wise Penelope, and let not thy heart


be troubled. The man is not, nor shall be
born, who shall raise a hand against Telem-


achus, so long as I live upon the earth.
Right soon would his blood gush out about
my spear ; many a time hath Ulysses set me
upon his knees, and given me roasted flesh,
and held the wine-cup to my lips. Therefore
Telemachus is the dearest of men to me. Fear
not death for him from the suitors ; but the
will of the gods none may avoid."

So he spake, as if he would comfort her ; but
all the while he plotted the death of her son.

After this she went to her chamber, and
wept for her lord till Athene dropped sweet
sleep upon her eyes.

Meanwhile the swineherd went back to his
home. But before he came Athene changed
Ulysses again into the likeness of a beggar
man, lest he should know him and tell the
matter to Penelope.

Telemachus spake to him, saying : " What
news is there in the city ? Are the suitors
come back from their ambush, or do they still
watch for my ship ? '


Eumasus ansv/ered : " I did not think to go
about the city asking questions ; but what I
know that will I tell thee. Know that the
messenger from thy company joined himselt
to me, and, indeed, was the first to tell the
news to the Queen. This also I know, that
I saw a ship entering the harbour, and that
there were many men in her, and spears, and
shields. These, haply, were the suitors, but I
know not of a certainty."

Then Telemachus looked to his father, but
the swineherd's eye he shunned.




WHEN the morning came, Telemachus said
to the swineherd: " I go to the city, for my
mother will not be satisfied till she see my
very face. And do thou lead this stranger to
the city, that he may there beg his bread from
any that may have the mind to give."

Thereupon Ulysses spake, saying, " I too, my
friend, like not to be left here. It is better for
a man to beg his bread in the town than in the
fields. Go thou, and I will follow, so soon as the
sun shall wax hot, for my garments are exceed-
ing poor, and I fear lest the cold overcome me."

So Telemachus went his way, devising evil
against the suitors all the while. And when
he came to the house his nurse Eurycleia saw
him first, and kissed him. Penelope also came
down from her chamber, and cast her arms
about him, and kissed him on the face, and on


both the eyes, and spake, saying: "Thou art
come, Telemachus, light of mine eyes ! I
thought not ever to see thee again. But tell

o o

me, what news didst thou get of thy father ? '

Telemachus made answer: " I cannot now
speak of these things. Get thee to thy cham-
ber, and vow a sacrifice to all the gods, if haply
they will grant us vengeance for our wrongs.
But I must go to the market-place, that I may
bid a stranger to my house, whom I brought
from Pylos, bidding Peiraeus keep him till I
should come."

Then Penelope did as he had bidden her.
But Telemachus went to the place of assembly,
and Athene put such grace upon him that all
men marvelled to see him. The suitors he
shunned, but he sat down where Mentor and
other friends of his house were gathered

Then came Peiraeus, leading the stranger,
and he spake, saying, " Bid the women go
straightway to my house, that they may fetch
the gifts which Menelaus gave thee."

But Telemachus made reply, " Not so ; we


know not yet what may be the issue. If the
suitors spoil my goods, then I would that thou
rather than they should have these gifts. But
if they perish, then shalt thou bring them to
my house."

Then he led the stranger to his house, and
commanded that they should set meat and
drink before him.

When they had ended their meal, Penelope
said to him, " Verily, I will go to my chamber;
but tell me first, hadst thou any tidings of thy
father ? "

Then Telemachus rehearsed to her all that
Nestor and Menelaus had told him. When he
had ended, Theoclymenus, the seer, spake thus :
" Hear now, wife of Ulysses; of a truth, Zeus
be my witness, and this hospitable board of
Ulysses and this hearth, Ulysses is even now
in his own land, devising death against the
suitors. This I know, for the omens that I
saw were very clear."

Then Penelope made answer : " The gods
grant that it be so, stranger ! So shalt thou
not lack many noble gifts."


Meanwhile the suitors were disporting them-
selves, casting of weights and aiming with
spears in a level place. And when it was
the time for supper, Medon, the herald, said,
" Come now, let us sup ; meat in season is a
good thing."

So they made ready a feast.

Now in the meanwhile Eumaeus and the false
beggar were coming to the city. And when
they were now near to it, by the fountain which
Ithacus and his brethren had made, where was
also an altar of the nymphs, Melanthius, the
goatherd, met them, and spake evil to Eumaeus,
rebuking him that he brought this beggar to
the city. And he came near and smote Ulysses
with his foot on the thigh, but moved him not
from the path. And Ulysses thought awhile,
should he smite him with his club and slay him,
or dash him on the ground. But it seemed to


him better to endure.

But Eumaeus lifted up his hands and said :
" Oh, now may the nymphs of the fountain
fulfil this hope, that Ulysses may come back
to his home, and tear from thee this finery of



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thine, wherein thou comest to the city, leaving
thy flock for evil shepherds to devour ! :

So they went on to the palace. And at the
door of the court there lay the dog Argus, whom
in the old days Ulysses had reared with his own
hand. But ere the dog grew to his full, Ulysses
had sailed to Troy. And while he was strong,
men used him in the chase, hunting wild goats
and roe-deer and hares. But now he lay on a
dunghill, and the lice swarmed upon him.
Well he knew his master, and, for that he
could not come near to him, wagged his tail
and drooped his ears.

And Ulysses, when he saw him, wiped away
a tear, and said, " Surely this is strange,
Eumasus, that such a dog, being of so fine a
breed, should lie here upon a dunghill."

And Eumaeus made reply: "He belongeth
to a master who died far away. For, indeed,
when Ulysses had him of old, he was the
strongest and swiftest of dogs ; but now my
clear lord has perished far away, and the care-
less women tend him not. For when the
master is away the slaves are careless of their


duty. Surely a man, when he is made a slave,
loses half the virtue of a man."

And as he spake the dog Argus died.
Twenty years had he waited, and saw his
master at the last.

After this the two entered the hall. And
Telemachus, when he saw them, took from the
basket bread and meat, as much as his hands
could hold, and bade carry them to the beggar,
and also to tell him that he mi^ht go round

o o

among the suitors, asking alms. So he went,
stretching out his hand, as though he were
wont to beg ; and some gave, having compas-
sion upon him and marvelling at him, and
some asked who he was. But of all, Antinoiis
was the most shameless. For when Ulysses
came to him and told him how he had had
much riches and power in former days, and
how he had gone to Egypt, and had been sold
a slave into Cyprus, Antinoiis mocked him,
saying :

" Get thee from my table, or thou shalt find
a worse Egypt and a harder Cyprus than be-


Then Ulysses said, "Surely thy soul is evil
though thy body is fair ; for though thou sittest
at another man's feast, yet wilt thou give me

Then Antinous caught up the footstool
that was under his feet, and smote Ulysses
therewith. But he stood firm as a rock ; and
in his heart he thought on revenge. So he
went and sat down at the door. And being
there, he said :

" Hear me, suitors of the Queen ! There is
no wrath if a man be smitten fighting for that
which is his own, but Antinous has smitten
me because that I am poor. May the curse of
the hungry light on him therefor, ere he come
to his marriage day!'

Then spake Antinous, " Sit thou still,
stranger, and eat thy bread in silence, lest the
young men drag thee from the house, or strip
thy flesh from off thy bcnes."

So he spake in his insolence ; but the others
blamed him, saying: "Antinous, thou didst ill
to smite the wanderer; there is a doom on
such deeds, if there be any god in heaven.


Verily, the gods oft times put on the shape of
men, and go through cities, spying out
whether there is righteous dealing or unright-
eous amons: them.'


But Anti-nous heeded not. As for Telema-
chus, he nursed a great sorrow in his heart to
see his father so smitten ; yet he shed not a
tear, but sat in silence, meditating evil against
the suitors.

When Penelope also heard how the stranger
had been smitten in the hall, she spake to her
maidens, saying, " So may Apollo, the archer,
smite Antinous ! '

Then Eurynome, that kept house, made
answer : " O that our prayers might be ful-
filled ! Surely not one of these evil men
should see another day."

To her replied Penelope : " Yea, nurse, all
are enemies, but Antinous is the worst. Verily,
he is as hateful as death."

Then Penelope called to the swineherd and
said : " Go now, and bring this stranger to me ;
I would greet him, and inquire of him whether
he has heard tidings of Ulysses, or, it may be,


seen him with his eyes, for he seems to have
wandered far."

Eumaeus made answer: "Truly this man
will charm thy heart, O Queen ! Three days
did I keep him in my dwelling, and he never
ceased from telling of his sorrows. As a


sinsrer of beautiful sono;s charmeth men, so did

o o

he charm me. He saith that he is a Cretan,
and that he hath heard of Ulysses, that he is
yet alive, and that he is bringing much wealth
to his home."

Then said Penelope : " Go, call the man,
that I may speak with him. O that Ulysses
would indeed return ! Soon he and his son
avenge them of these men, for all the wrong
that they have done ! '

And as she spake, Telemachus sneezed, and
all the house rans: with the noise. And


Penelope said again to Eumaeus : " Call now
this stranger; didst thou not mark how my
son sneezed a blessing when I spake ? Verily,
this vengeance shall be wrought, nor shall
one escape from it. And as for this stran-
ger, if I shall perceive that he hath spoken


truth, I will give him a new mantle and

So the swineherd spake to the stranger, say-
ing : " Penelope would speak with thee, and
would inquire concerning her husband. And
if she find that thou hast spoken truth, she
will give thee a mantle and a tunic, and thou
shalt have freedom to beg throughout the

But the false beggar said : " Gladly would I
tell to Penelope the story of her husband, for
I know him well. But I fear these suitors.
Even now, when this man struck me, and for
naught, none hindered the blow, no, not Te-
lemachus himself. Go, therefore, and bid the
Queen wait till the setting of the sun."

So the swineherd \vent, and as he crossed
the threshold Penelope said : " Thou bringest
him not ! What meaneth the wanderer ? A
beggar that is shamefaced knoweth his trade
but ill."

But the swineherd answered : " He doeth
well, O lady, in that he fearest the wrong-
doing of these insolent men. He would have


thee wait till the setting of the sun, and indeed
it is better for thee to have speech with him

Then said Penelope : " It is well ; the
stranger is a man of understanding. Veriiy,
these men are insolent above all others."

Then the swineherd went into the throng of
the suitors, and spake to Telemachus, holding
his head close that none should hear : " I go
to see after matters at the farm. Take thou
heed of what befalleth here. Many of the
people have ill-will against us. May Zeus
confound them ! '

Telemachus made answer, " Go, father, as
thou sayest ; and come again in the morning,
brinonn beasts for sacrifice.'

o o

So the swineherd departed ; and the suitors
made merry in the hall with dancing and sing-
ing, for the sun was near to the setting.



ULYSSES IN HIS HOME (continued}.

AFTER awhile there came a bes^ar from the


city, huge of bulk, mighty to eat and drink,
but his strength was not according to his size.

o o

Arnaeus was his name, but the young men
called him Irus, because he was their messen-
ger, after Iris, the messenger of Zeus. He
spake to Ulysses :

" Give place, old man, lest I drag thee forth ;
the young men even now would have it so, but
I think it shame to strike such an one as thee."

Then said Ulysses, " There is room for thee
and for me; get \vhat thou canst, for I do not
grudge thee aught, but beware lest thou anger
me, lest I harm thee, old though I am."

But Irus would not hear words of peace, but
still challenged him to fight.

And when Antinoiis saw this he was glad,
and said : u This is the goodliest sport that I









have seen in this house. These two beggars
would fio:ht ; let us haste and match them."


And the saying pleased them ; and Antinoiis
spake again : " Hear me, ye suitors of the
Queen ! We have put aside these paunches of
the goats for our supper. Let us agree, then,
that whosoever of these two shall prevail, shall
have choice of these, that which pleaseth him
best, and shall hereafter eat with us, and that
no one else shall sit in his place."

Then said Ulysses : " It is hard for an old
man to fight with a young. Yet will I do it.
Only do ye swear to me that no one shall
strike me a foul blow while I fight with this


Then Telemachus said that this should be
so, and they all consented to his words. And
after this Ulysses girded himself for the fight.
And all that were there saw his thighs, how
great and strong they were, and his shoulders,
how broad, and his arms, how mighty. And

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Online LibraryAlfred John ChurchThe story of the Odyssey → online text (page 10 of 15)