All the wooers marvelled that Telemachus spoke so boldly. And one said, ’Because his father, Odysseus, was king, this youth thinks he should be king by inheritance. But may Zeus, the god, never grant that he be king.’
Then said Telemachus, ’If the god Zeus should grant that I be King, I am ready to take up the Kingship of the land of Ithaka with all its toils and all its dangers.’ And when Telemachus said that he looked like a young king indeed.
But they sat in peace and listened to what the minstrel sang. And when evening came the wooers left the hall and went each to his own house. Telemachus rose and went to his chamber. Before him there went an ancient woman who had nursed him as a child—Eurycleia was her name. She carried burning torches to light his way. And when they were in his chamber Telemachus took off his soft doublet and put it in Eurycleia’s hands, and she smoothed it out and hung it on the pin at his bed-side. Then she went out and she closed the door behind with its handle of silver and she pulled the thong that bolted the door on the other side. And all night long Telemachus lay wrapped in his fleece of wool and thought on what he would say at the council next day, and on the goddess Athene and what she had put into his heart to do, and on the journey that was before him to Nestor in Pylos and to Menelaus and Helen in Sparta.
As soon as it was dawn Telemachus rose from his bed. He put on his raiment, bound his sandals on his feet, hung his sharp sword across his shoulder, and took in his hand a spear of bronze. Then he went forth to where the Council was being held in the open air, and two swift hounds went beside him.
The chief men of the land of Ithaka had been gathered already for the council. When it was plain that all were there, the man who was oldest amongst them, the lord AEgyptus, rose up and spoke. He had sons, and two of them were with him yet, tending his fields. But one, Eurynomous by name, kept company with the wooers of Telemachus’ mother. And AEgyptus had had another son; he had gone in Odysseus’ ship to the war of Troy, and AEgyptus knew he had perished on his way back. He constantly mourned for this son, and thinking upon him as he spoke, AEgyptus had tears in his eyes.
’Never since Odysseus summoned us together before he took ship for the war of Troy have we met in council,’ said he. ’Why have we been brought together now? Has someone heard tidings of the return of Odysseus? If it be so, may the god Zeus give luck to him who tells us of such good fortune.’
Telemachus was glad because of the kindly speech of the old man. He rose up to speak and the herald put a staff into his hands as a sign that he was to be listened to with reverence. Telemachus then spoke, addressing the old lord AEgyptus.