The Odyssey eBook

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

Thus did he speak, and his words pleased them well, so they rose forthwith and went to the house of Ulysses, where they took their accustomed seats.

Then Penelope resolved that she would show herself to the suitors.  She knew of the plot against Telemachus, for the servant Medon had overheard their counsels and had told her; she went down therefore to the court attended by her maidens, and when she reached the suitors she stood by one of the bearing-posts supporting the roof of the cloister holding a veil before her face, and rebuked Antinous saying: 

“Antinous, insolent and wicked schemer, they say you are the best speaker and counsellor of any man your own age in Ithaca, but you are nothing of the kind.  Madman, why should you try to compass the death of Telemachus, and take no heed of suppliants, whose witness is Jove himself?  It is not right for you to plot thus against one another.  Do you not remember how your father fled to this house in fear of the people, who were enraged against him for having gone with some Taphian pirates and plundered the Thesprotians who were at peace with us?  They wanted to tear him in pieces and eat up everything he had, but Ulysses stayed their hands although they were infuriated, and now you devour his property without paying for it, and break my heart by wooing his wife and trying to kill his son.  Leave off doing so, and stop the others also.”

To this Eurymachus son of Polybus answered, “Take heart, Queen Penelope daughter of Icarius, and do not trouble yourself about these matters.  The man is not yet born, nor never will be, who shall lay hands upon your son Telemachus, while I yet live to look upon the face of the earth.  I say—­and it shall surely be—­that my spear shall be reddened with his blood; for many a time has Ulysses taken me on his knees, held wine up to my lips to drink, and put pieces of meat into my hands.  Therefore Telemachus is much the dearest friend I have, and has nothing to fear from the hands of us suitors.  Of course, if death comes to him from the gods, he cannot escape it.”  He said this to quiet her, but in reality he was plotting against Telemachus.

Then Penelope went upstairs again and mourned her husband till Minerva shed sleep over her eyes.  In the evening Eumaeus got back to Ulysses and his son, who had just sacrificed a young pig of a year old and were helping one another to get supper ready; Minerva therefore came up to Ulysses, turned him into an old man with a stroke of her wand, and clad him in his old clothes again, for fear that the swineherd might recognise him and not keep the secret, but go and tell Penelope.

Telemachus was the first to speak.  “So you have got back, Eumaeus,” said he.  “What is the news of the town?  Have the suitors returned, or are they still waiting over yonder, to take me on my way home?”

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.