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

“Stranger, I should like to speak with you briefly about another matter.  It is indeed nearly bed time—­for those, at least, who can sleep in spite of sorrow.  As for myself, heaven has given me a life of such unmeasurable woe, that even by day when I am attending to my duties and looking after the servants, I am still weeping and lamenting during the whole time; then, when night comes, and we all of us go to bed, I lie awake thinking, and my heart becomes a prey to the most incessant and cruel tortures.  As the dun nightingale, daughter of Pandareus, sings in the early spring from her seat in shadiest covert hid, and with many a plaintive trill pours out the tale how by mishap she killed her own child Itylus, son of king Zethus, even so does my mind toss and turn in its uncertainty whether I ought to stay with my son here, and safeguard my substance, my bondsmen, and the greatness of my house, out of regard to public opinion and the memory of my late husband, or whether it is not now time for me to go with the best of these suitors who are wooing me and making me such magnificent presents.  As long as my son was still young, and unable to understand, he would not hear of my leaving my husband’s house, but now that he is full grown he begs and prays me to do so, being incensed at the way in which the suitors are eating up his property.  Listen, then, to a dream that I have had and interpret it for me if you can.  I have twenty geese about the house that eat mash out of a trough, {155} and of which I am exceedingly fond.  I dreamed that a great eagle came swooping down from a mountain, and dug his curved beak into the neck of each of them till he had killed them all.  Presently he soared off into the sky, and left them lying dead about the yard; whereon I wept in my dream till all my maids gathered round me, so piteously was I grieving because the eagle had killed my geese.  Then he came back again, and perching on a projecting rafter spoke to me with human voice, and told me to leave off crying.  ‘Be of good courage,’ he said, ’daughter of Icarius; this is no dream, but a vision of good omen that shall surely come to pass.  The geese are the suitors, and I am no longer an eagle, but your own husband, who am come back to you, and who will bring these suitors to a disgraceful end.’  On this I woke, and when I looked out I saw my geese at the trough eating their mash as usual.”

“This dream, Madam,” replied Ulysses, “can admit but of one interpretation, for had not Ulysses himself told you how it shall be fulfilled?  The death of the suitors is portended, and not one single one of them will escape.”

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