“Who knows?” they said. “He might be one of the heavenly Gods, and woe to you if he were! For sometimes the Immortals take upon themselves the likeness of strangers, and enter our cities, and go about among men, watching the good and evil that they do.”
Thus they warned him, but he cared little for all they said. And Telemachus sat there full of rage and grief to see his father struck, but he kept back the tears and held his peace.
Now Penelope was sitting in her room behind the hall, and she saw what had happened, and was angry with Antinous, and called the swineherd to her side.
“Go, good Eumaeus, and tell the stranger to come here. And I will ask him if he has ever heard of Ulysses, for he looks like a man who has wandered far.”
And the swineherd said, “Yes, he is a Cretan, and has had all kinds of adventures before he was driven here, and he could tell you stories that would charm you like a minstrel’s sweetest song, and you would never tire of listening. And he says that he has heard of Ulysses, near home, in the rich land of Epirus, and that he is already on his way to us, bringing a store of treasures with him.”
Then Penelope said, “Quick, bring the stranger here at once, and let him speak with me face to face. And if I see that he tells the truth I will give him a vest and a cloak for himself.”
So the swineherd hurried back with the message; but Ulysses said he dared not face the princes a second time and it would be better to speak with Penelope later in the evening, alone by the fireside; and when the queen heard this, she said that the stranger was right. By this time it was afternoon, and Eumaeus went up to Telemachus and whispered that he must be off to his work again. Telemachus said he might go, but bade him have supper first and told him to come back next morning without fail. So the swineherd took his food in the hall, and then started home for his farm, to look after his pigs and everything that he had charge of there.
B. THE TRIAL OF THE BOW
Translated by George Herbert Palmer
And now the goddess, clear-eyed Athene, put in the mind of Icarius’s daughter, heedful Penelope, to offer to the suitors in the hall the bow and the gray steel, as means of sport and harbingers of death. She mounted the long stairway of her house, holding a crooked key in her firm hand,—a goodly key of bronze, having an ivory handle,—and hastened with her damsels to a far-off room where her lord’s treasure lay, bronze, gold, and well-wrought steel. Here also lay his curved bow and the quiver for his arrows,—and many grievous shafts were in it still,—gifts which a friend had given Ulysses when he met him once in Lacedaemon,—Iphitus, son of Eurytus, a man like the Immortals. At Messene the two met, in the house of wise Orsilochus. Ulysses had come hither to claim a debt, which the whole district owed him; for upon ships of many oars