’Look now on the man who a while ago seemed so terrifying! He is most handsome and stately. Would that we might see more of him. Now, my maidens, bring the stranger meat and drink.’
They came to him and they served him with meat and drink and he ate and drank eagerly, for it was long since he had tasted food. And while he ate, Nausicaa and her companions went down to the seashore and gathered the garments that were now dried, singing songs the while. They harnessed the mules and folded the garments and left them on the wagon.
When they were ready to go Nausicaa went to Odysseus and said to him, ’Stranger, if thou wouldst make thy way into the city come with us now, so that we may guide thee. But first listen to what I would say. While we are going through the fields and by the farms walk thou behind, keeping near the wagon. But when we enter the ways of the City, go no further with us. People might speak unkindly of me if they saw me with a stranger such as thou. They might say, “Who does Nausicaa bring to her father’s house? Someone she would like to make her husband, most likely.” So that we may not meet with such rudeness I would have thee come alone to my father’s house. Listen now and I will tell thee how thou mayst do this.’
’There is a grove kept for the goddess Pallas Athene within a man’s shout of the city. In that grove is a spring, and when we come near I would have thee go and rest thyself by it. Then when thou dost think we have come to my father’s house, enter the City and ask thy way to the palace of the King. When thou hast come to it, pass quickly through the court and through the great chamber and come to where my mother sits weaving yarn by the light of the fire. My father will be sitting near, drinking his wine in the evening. Pass by his seat and come to my mother, and clasp your hands about her knees and ask for her aid. If she become friendly to thee thou wilt be helped by our people and wilt be given the means of returning to thine own land.’
So Nausicaa bade him. Then she touched the mules with the whip and the wagon went on. Odysseus walked with the maids behind. As the sun set they came to the grove that was outside the City—the grove of Pallas Athene. Odysseus went into it and sat by the spring. And while he was in her grove he prayed to the goddess, ’Hear me, Pallas Athene, and grant that I may come before the King of this land as one well worthy of his pity and his help.’
About the time that the maiden Nausicaa had come to her father’s house, Odysseus rose up from where he sat by the spring in the grove of Pallas Athene and went into the City. There he met one who showed him the way to the palace of King Alcinous. The doors of that palace were golden and the door-posts were of silver. And there was a garden by the great door filled with fruitful trees—pear trees and pomegranates; apple trees and trees bearing figs and olives. Below it was a vineyard showing clusters of grapes. That orchard and that vineyard were marvels, for in them never fruit fell or was gathered but other fruit ripened to take its place; from season to season there was fruit for the gathering in the king’s close.