The Odyssey eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 388 pages of information about The Odyssey.

“But why,” said Ulysses, “did you not tell him, for you knew all about it?  Did you want him too to go sailing about amid all kinds of hardship while others are eating up his estate?”

Minerva answered, “Never mind about him, I sent him that he might be well spoken of for having gone.  He is in no sort of difficulty, but is staying quite comfortably with Menelaus, and is surrounded with abundance of every kind.  The suitors have put out to sea and are lying in wait for him, for they mean to kill him before he can get home.  I do not much think they will succeed, but rather that some of those who are now eating up your estate will first find a grave themselves.”

As she spoke Minerva touched him with her wand and covered him with wrinkles, took away all his yellow hair, and withered the flesh over his whole body; she bleared his eyes, which were naturally very fine ones; she changed his clothes and threw an old rag of a wrap about him, and a tunic, tattered, filthy, and begrimed with smoke; she also gave him an undressed deer skin as an outer garment, and furnished him with a staff and a wallet all in holes, with a twisted thong for him to sling it over his shoulder.

When the pair had thus laid their plans they parted, and the goddess went straight to Lacedaemon to fetch Telemachus.

Book XIV

Ulysses in the hut with Eumaeus.

Ulysses now left the haven, and took the rough track up through the wooded country and over the crest of the mountain till he reached the place where Minerva had said that he would find the swineherd, who was the most thrifty servant he had.  He found him sitting in front of his hut, which was by the yards that he had built on a site which could be seen from far.  He had made them spacious {126} and fair to see, with a free run for the pigs all round them; he had built them during his master’s absence, of stones which he had gathered out of the ground, without saying anything to Penelope or Laertes, and he had fenced them on top with thorn bushes.  Outside the yard he had run a strong fence of oaken posts, split, and set pretty close together, while inside he had built twelve styes near one another for the sows to lie in.  There were fifty pigs wallowing in each stye, all of them breeding sows; but the boars slept outside and were much fewer in number, for the suitors kept on eating them, and the swineherd had to send them the best he had continually.  There were three hundred and sixty boar pigs, and the herdsman’s four hounds, which were as fierce as wolves, slept always with them.  The swineherd was at that moment cutting out a pair of sandals {127} from a good stout ox hide.  Three of his men were out herding the pigs in one place or another, and he had sent the fourth to town with a boar that he had been forced to send the suitors that they might sacrifice it and have their fill of meat.

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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