The Odyssey eBook

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

Book XIX

Telemachus and Ulysses remove the armour—­Ulysses interviews Penelope—­Euryclea washes his feet and recognises the scar on his leg—­Penelope tells her dream to Ulysses.

Ulysses was left in the cloister, pondering on the means whereby with Minerva’s help he might be able to kill the suitors.  Presently he said to Telemachus, “Telemachus, we must get the armour together and take it down inside.  Make some excuse when the suitors ask you why you have removed it.  Say that you have taken it to be out of the way of the smoke, inasmuch as it is no longer what it was when Ulysses went away, but has become soiled and begrimed with soot.  Add to this more particularly that you are afraid Jove may set them on to quarrel over their wine, and that they may do each other some harm which may disgrace both banquet and wooing, for the sight of arms sometimes tempts people to use them.”

Telemachus approved of what his father had said, so he called nurse Euryclea and said, “Nurse, shut the women up in their room, while I take the armour that my father left behind him down into the store room.  No one looks after it now my father is gone, and it has got all smirched with soot during my own boyhood.  I want to take it down where the smoke cannot reach it.”

“I wish, child,” answered Euryclea, “that you would take the management of the house into your own hands altogether, and look after all the property yourself.  But who is to go with you and light you to the store-room?  The maids would have done so, but you would not let them.”

“The stranger,” said Telemachus, “shall show me a light; when people eat my bread they must earn it, no matter where they come from.”

Euryclea did as she was told, and bolted the women inside their room.  Then Ulysses and his son made all haste to take the helmets, shields, and spears inside; and Minerva went before them with a gold lamp in her hand that shed a soft and brilliant radiance, whereon Telemachus said, “Father, my eyes behold a great marvel:  the walls, with the rafters, crossbeams, and the supports on which they rest are all aglow as with a flaming fire.  Surely there is some god here who has come down from heaven.”

“Hush,” answered Ulysses, “hold your peace and ask no questions, for this is the manner of the gods.  Get you to your bed, and leave me here to talk with your mother and the maids.  Your mother in her grief will ask me all sorts of questions.”

On this Telemachus went by torch-light to the other side of the inner court, to the room in which he always slept.  There he lay in his bed till morning, while Ulysses was left in the cloister pondering on the means whereby with Minerva’s help he might be able to kill the suitors.

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Project Gutenberg
The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.