The Children's Hour, Volume 3 (of 10) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 471 pages of information about The Children's Hour, Volume 3 (of 10).

Then Ulysses searched through the hall, to see if any one was yet lurking alive.  But they all lay round him fallen in the dust and blood, heaped upon each other like fishes on a sunny beach when the fisherman has drawn his net to land.  Then he told Telemachus to call out the old nurse Eurycleia.  She came and found Ulysses standing among the bodies of the slain, with his hands and feet all stained with blood, and she was ready to shout aloud for triumph when she saw the great work accomplished.  But Ulysses checked her cry and said, “Keep your joy unspoken, old nurse; there should be no shout of triumph over the slain.  It is the judgment of Heaven that has repaid them for the evil deeds they did.”

Then he gave orders that the bodies of the dead should be carried out and that the blood should be washed away.  And when this was done he turned to Eurycleia and said, “Bring fire and sulphur now and I will purify the hall.  Then bid Penelope meet me here.”

“Yes, my child,” said the old nurse, “I will obey you.  But let me bring you a mantle first:  it is not fitting that you should stand here with only your rags to cover you.”  But Ulysses said that she must do his bidding at once.  So she brought sulphur and lit a fire, and Ulysses purified the hall.

D. PENELOPE RECOGNIZES ULYSSES

Translated by George Herbert Palmer

The old woman, full of glee, went to the upper chamber to tell her mistress her dear lord was in the house.  Her knees grew strong; her feet outran themselves.  By Penelope’s head she paused, and thus she spoke:—­

“Awake, Penelope, dear child, to see with your own eyes what you have hoped to see this many a day!  Ulysses is here!  He has come home at last, and slain the haughty suitors, the men who vexed his house, devoured his substance, and oppressed his son.”

Then heedful Penelope said to her, “Dear nurse, the Gods have crazed you.  They can befool one who is very wise, and often they have set the simple in the paths of prudence.  They have confused you; you were sober-minded heretofore.  Why mock me when my heart is full of sorrow, telling wild tales like these?  And why arouse me from the sleep that sweetly bound me and kept my eyelids closed?  I have not slept so soundly since Ulysses went away to see accursed Ilium,—­name never to be named.  Nay then, go down, back to the hall.  If any other of my maids had come and told me this and waked me out of sleep, I would soon have sent her off in sorry wise into the hall once more.  This time age serves you well.”

Then said to her the good nurse Eurycleia, “Dear child, I do not mock you.  In very truth it is Ulysses; he is come, as I have said.  He is the stranger whom everybody in the hall has set at naught.  Telemachus knew long ago that he was here, but out of prudence hid his knowledge of his father till he should have revenge from those bold men for wicked deeds.”

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The Children's Hour, Volume 3 (of 10) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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