The sons of Nestor gave heed and they yoked the swift horses to the chariot and the housedame came from the hall and placed within the chariot wine and dainties. Telemachus went into the chariot and Peisistratus sat before him. Then Peisistratus touched the horses with the whip and they sprang forward, and the chariot went swiftly over the plain. Soon they left behind them the steep citadel of Neleus and the land of Pylos. And when the sun sank and the ways were darkened, they came to Pherae and to the house of Diocles and there they rested for the night.
In the morning as soon as the sun rose they yoked the houses and they mounted the chariot, and for another day they journeyed across the plain. They had gone far and the ways were again darkened around them.
They came to Sparta, to a country lying low amongst the hills, and they stayed the chariot outside the gate of the King’s dwelling. Now upon that day Menelaus was sending his daughter into Phthia, with horses and chariots, as a bride for Achilles’ son. And for Megapenthes, his own son, a bride was being brought into the house. Because of these two marriages there was feasting in the palace and kinsmen and neighbours were gathered there. A minstrel was singing to the guests and two tumblers were whirling round the high hall to divert them.
To the King in his high hall came Eteoneus, the steward. ’Renowned Menelaus,’ said Eteoneus, ’there are two strangers outside, men with the looks of heroes. What would you have me do with them? Shall I have their horses unyoked, bidding them enter the Palace, or shall I let them fare on to another dwelling?’
‘Why do you ask such a question, Eteoneus?’ said Menelaus in anger. ’Have we not eaten the bread of other men on our wanderings, and have we not rested ourselves in other men’s houses? Knowing this you have no right to ask whether you should bid strangers enter or let them go past the gate of my dwelling. Go now and bid them enter and feast with us.’
Then Eteoneus went from the hall, and while he had servants unyoke the horses from their chariot he led Telemachus and Peisistratus into the palace. First they were brought to the bath, and when they had come from the bath refreshed, they were given new cloaks and mantles. When they had dressed themselves they were led into the King’s high hall. They seated themselves there, and a maid brought water in a golden ewer and poured it over their hands into a silver basin. Then a polished table was put beside them, and the housedame placed bread and meat and wine upon it so that they might eat.
Menelaus came to where they sat and said to Telemachus and Peisistratus, ’By your looks I know you to be of the line of Kings. Eat now, and when you have refreshed yourselves I will ask who you are and from what place you come.’