Leocritus said that knowing that Mentor and Halitherses were old and had few friends, and that they could do nothing to help Telemachus to get a ship. The council broke up and those who were in it scattered. But the wooers went together back to the house of Odysseus.
Telemachus went apart, and, going by himself, came to the shore of the sea. He dipped his hands into the sea-water and prayed, saying, ’O Goddess Athene, you who did come to my father’s hall yesterday, I have tried to do as you bade me. But still the wooers of my mother hinder me from taking ship to seek tidings of my father.’
He spoke in prayer and then he saw one who had the likeness of the old man Mentor coming towards him. But by the grey, clear, wonderfully-shining eyes he knew that the figure was none other than the goddess Athene.
‘Telemachus,’ said she, ’if you have indeed one drop of your father’s blood in you or one portion of his spirit, if you are as he was—one ready to fulfil both word and work, your voyage shall not be in vain. If you are different from what he was, I have no hope that you will accomplish your desire. But I have seen in you something of the wisdom and the courage of Odysseus. Hear my counsel then, and do as I direct you. Go back to your father’s house and be with the wooers for a time. And get together corn and barley-flour and wine in jars. And while you are doing all this I will gather together a crew for your ship. There are many ships in sea-girt Ithaka and I shall choose the best for you and we will rig her quickly and launch her on the wide deep.’
When Telemachus heard her counsel he tarried no more but went back to the house and stood amongst the wooers, and when he had spoken with them he went down into the treasure-vault. It was a spacious room filled with gold and bronze and chests of raiment and casks of wine. The doors of that vault were closed night and day and Eurycleia, the dame who had been the nurse of Telemachus when he was little, guarded the place. She came to him, and he spoke to her:
‘My nurse,’ said he, ’none but yourself must know what I would do now, and you must swear not to speak of it to my lady-mother until twelve days from this. Fill twelve jars with wine for me now, and pour twelve measures of barley-meal into well-sewn skins. Leave them all together for me, and when my mother goes into the upper chamber, I shall have them carried away. Lo, nurse, I go to Pylos and to Sparta to seek tidings from Nestor and Menelaus of Odysseus, my father.’
When she heard him say this, the nurse Eurycleia lamented. ’Ah, wherefore, dear child,’ she cried, ’has such a thought risen in your mind? How could you fare over wide seas and through strange lands, you who were never from your home? Stay here where you are well beloved. As for your father, he has long since perished amongst strangers why should you put yourself in danger to find out that he is no more? Nay, do not go, Telemachus, my fosterling, but stay in your own house and in your own well-beloved country.’