The Odyssey eBook

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

When the hounds saw Ulysses they set up a furious barking and flew at him, but Ulysses was cunning enough to sit down and loose his hold of the stick that he had in his hand:  still, he would have been torn by them in his own homestead had not the swineherd dropped his ox hide, rushed full speed through the gate of the yard and driven the dogs off by shouting and throwing stones at them.  Then he said to Ulysses, “Old man, the dogs were likely to have made short work of you, and then you would have got me into trouble.  The gods have given me quite enough worries without that, for I have lost the best of masters, and am in continual grief on his account.  I have to attend swine for other people to eat, while he, if he yet lives to see the light of day, is starving in some distant land.  But come inside, and when you have had your fill of bread and wine, tell me where you come from, and all about your misfortunes.”

On this the swineherd led the way into the hut and bade him sit down.  He strewed a good thick bed of rushes upon the floor, and on the top of this he threw the shaggy chamois skin—­a great thick one—­on which he used to sleep by night.  Ulysses was pleased at being made thus welcome, and said “May Jove, sir, and the rest of the gods grant you your heart’s desire in return for the kind way in which you have received me.”

To this you answered, O swineherd Eumaeus, “Stranger, though a still poorer man should come here, it would not be right for me to insult him, for all strangers and beggars are from Jove.  You must take what you can get and be thankful, for servants live in fear when they have young lords for their masters; and this is my misfortune now, for heaven has hindered the return of him who would have been always good to me and given me something of my own—­a house, a piece of land, a good looking wife, and all else that a liberal master allows a servant who has worked hard for him, and whose labour the gods have prospered as they have mine in the situation which I hold.  If my master had grown old here he would have done great things by me, but he is gone, and I wish that Helen’s whole race were utterly destroyed, for she has been the death of many a good man.  It was this matter that took my master to Ilius, the land of noble steeds, to fight the Trojans in the cause of king Agamemnon.”

As he spoke he bound his girdle round him and went to the styes where the young sucking pigs were penned.  He picked out two which he brought back with him and sacrificed.  He singed them, cut them up, and spitted them; when the meat was cooked he brought it all in and set it before Ulysses, hot and still on the spit, whereon Ulysses sprinkled it over with white barley meal.  The swineherd then mixed wine in a bowl of ivy-wood, and taking a seat opposite Ulysses told him to begin.

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Project Gutenberg
The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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