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

She brought the fire and sulphur, as he had bidden her, and Ulysses thoroughly purified the cloisters and both the inner and outer courts.  Then she went inside to call the women and tell them what had happened; whereon they came from their apartment with torches in their hands, and pressed round Ulysses to embrace him, kissing his head and shoulders and taking hold of his hands.  It made him feel as if he should like to weep, for he remembered every one of them. {179}

Book XXIII

Penelope eventually recognises her husband—­early in the morning Ulysses, telemachus, Eumaeus, and Philoetius leave the town.

Euryclea now went upstairs laughing to tell her mistress that her dear husband had come home.  Her aged knees became young again and her feet were nimble for joy as she went up to her mistress and bent over her head to speak to her.  “Wake up Penelope, my dear child,” she exclaimed, “and see with your own eyes something that you have been wanting this long time past.  Ulysses has at last indeed come home again, and has killed the suitors who were giving so much trouble in his house, eating up his estate and ill treating his son.”

“My good nurse,” answered Penelope, “you must be mad.  The gods sometimes send some very sensible people out of their minds, and make foolish people become sensible.  This is what they must have been doing to you; for you always used to be a reasonable person.  Why should you thus mock me when I have trouble enough already—­talking such nonsense, and waking me up out of a sweet sleep that had taken possession of my eyes and closed them?  I have never slept so soundly from the day my poor husband went to that city with the ill-omened name.  Go back again into the women’s room; if it had been any one else who had woke me up to bring me such absurd news I should have sent her away with a severe scolding.  As it is your age shall protect you.”

“My dear child,” answered Euryclea, “I am not mocking you.  It is quite true as I tell you that Ulysses is come home again.  He was the stranger whom they all kept on treating so badly in the cloister.  Telemachus knew all the time that he was come back, but kept his father’s secret that he might have his revenge on all these wicked people.”

Then Penelope sprang up from her couch, threw her arms round Euryclea, and wept for joy.  “But my dear nurse,” said she, “explain this to me; if he has really come home as you say, how did he manage to overcome the wicked suitors single handed, seeing what a number of them there always were?”

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