‘Who art thou?’ cried Telemachus, starting up. ’Even a moment ago thou didst look aged and a beggar! Now thou dost look a chief of men! Art thou one of the divine ones?’
Odysseus looked upon him and said. ’My son, do not speak so to me. I am Odysseus, thy father. After much suffering and much wandering I have come to my own country.’ He kissed his son with tears flowing down his cheeks, and Telemachus threw his arms around his father’s neck, but scarce believing that the father he had searched for was indeed before him.
But no doubt was left as Odysseus talked to him, and told him how he had come to Ithaka in a ship given him by the Phaeacians, and how he had brought with him gifts of bronze and raiment that were hidden in the cave, and told him, too, how Pallas Athene had changed his appearance into that of an old beggar.
And when his own story was finished he said, ’Come, my son, tell me of the wooers who waste the substance of our house—tell me how many they number, and who they are, so that we may prepare a way of dealing with them.’
’Even though thou art a great warrior, my father, thou and I cannot hope to deal with them. They have come, not from Ithaka alone, but from all the islands around—from Dulichium and Same and Zacynthus. We two cannot deal with such a throng.’
Said Odysseus, ’I shall make a plan to deal with them. Go thou home, and keep company with the wooers. Later in the day the swineherd will lead me into the city, and I shall go into the house in the likeness of an old beggar. And if thou shouldst see any of the wooers ill-treat me, harden thine heart to endure it—even if they drag me by the feet to the door of the house, keep quiet thou. And let no one—not even thy mother, Penelope—nor my father Laertes—know that Odysseus hath returned.’
Telemachus said, ’My father, thou shalt learn soon what spirit is in me and what wisdom I have.’
While they talked together the ship that Antinous had taken, when he went to lie in wait for Telemachus, returned. The wooers assembled and debated whether they should kill Telemachus, for now there was danger that he would draw the people to his side, and so make up a force that could drive the wooers out of Ithaka. But they did not agree to kill him then, for there was one amongst them who was against the deed.
Eumaeus brought the news to Telemachus and Odysseus of the return of Antinous’ ship. He came back to the hut in the afternoon. Pallas Athene had again given Odysseus the appearance of an ancient beggar-man and the swineherd saw no change in his guest.
It was time for Telemachus to go into the City. He put his sandals on his feet, and took his spear in his hand, and then speaking to the swineherd he said:
’Friend Eumaeus, I am now going into the City to show myself to my mother, and to let her hear from my own lips the tale of my journey. And I have an order to leave with thee. Take this stranger into the City, that he may go about as he desires, asking alms from the people.’