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

Euryclea left the cloister to tell the women, and make them come to Ulysses; in the meantime he called Telemachus, the stockman, and the swineherd.  “Begin,” said he, “to remove the dead, and make the women help you.  Then, get sponges and clean water to swill down the tables and seats.  When you have thoroughly cleansed the whole cloisters, take the women into the space between the domed room and the wall of the outer court, and run them through with your swords till they are quite dead, and have forgotten all about love and the way in which they used to lie in secret with the suitors.”

On this the women came down in a body, weeping and wailing bitterly.  First they carried the dead bodies out, and propped them up against one another in the gatehouse.  Ulysses ordered them about and made them do their work quickly, so they had to carry the bodies out.  When they had done this, they cleaned all the tables and seats with sponges and water, while Telemachus and the two others shovelled up the blood and dirt from the ground, and the women carried it all away and put it out of doors.  Then when they had made the whole place quite clean and orderly, they took the women out and hemmed them in the narrow space between the wall of the domed room and that of the yard, so that they could not get away:  and Telemachus said to the other two, “I shall not let these women die a clean death, for they were insolent to me and my mother, and used to sleep with the suitors.”

So saying he made a ship’s cable fast to one of the bearing-posts that supported the roof of the domed room, and secured it all around the building, at a good height, lest any of the women’s feet should touch the ground; and as thrushes or doves beat against a net that has been set for them in a thicket just as they were getting to their nest, and a terrible fate awaits them, even so did the women have to put their heads in nooses one after the other and die most miserably. {178} Their feet moved convulsively for a while, but not for very long.

As for Melanthius, they took him through the cloister into the inner court.  There they cut off his nose and his ears; they drew out his vitals and gave them to the dogs raw, and then in their fury they cut off his hands and his feet.

When they had done this they washed their hands and feet and went back into the house, for all was now over; and Ulysses said to the dear old nurse Euryclea, “Bring me sulphur, which cleanses all pollution, and fetch fire also that I may burn it, and purify the cloisters.  Go, moreover, and tell Penelope to come here with her attendants, and also all the maidservants that are in the house.”

“All that you have said is true,” answered Euryclea, “but let me bring you some clean clothes—­a shirt and cloak.  Do not keep these rags on your back any longer.  It is not right.”

“First light me a fire,” replied Ulysses.

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