This was what Minerva was already eager to bring about, so down she darted from off the topmost summits of Olympus.
Now when Laertes and the others had done dinner, Ulysses began by saying, “Some of you go out and see if they are not getting close up to us.” So one of Dolius’s sons went as he was bid. Standing on the threshold he could see them all quite near, and said to Ulysses, “Here they are, let us put on our armour at once.”
They put on their armour as fast as they could—that is to say Ulysses, his three men, and the six sons of Dolius. Laertes also and Dolius did the same—warriors by necessity in spite of their grey hair. When they had all put on their armour, they opened the gate and sallied forth, Ulysses leading the way.
Then Jove’s daughter Minerva came up to them, having assumed the form and voice of Mentor. Ulysses was glad when he saw her, and said to his son Telemachus, “Telemachus, now that you are about to fight in an engagement, which will show every man’s mettle, be sure not to disgrace your ancestors, who were eminent for their strength and courage all the world over.”
“You say truly, my dear father,” answered Telemachus, “and you shall see, if you will, that I am in no mind to disgrace your family.”
Laertes was delighted when he heard this. “Good heavens,” he exclaimed, “what a day I am enjoying: I do indeed rejoice at it. My son and grandson are vying with one another in the matter of valour.”
On this Minerva came close up to him and said, “Son of Arceisius—–best friend I have in the world—pray to the blue-eyed damsel, and to Jove her father; then poise your spear and hurl it.”
As she spoke she infused fresh vigour into him, and when he had prayed to her he poised his spear and hurled it. He hit Eupeithes’ helmet, and the spear went right through it, for the helmet stayed it not, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground. Meantime Ulysses and his son fell upon the front line of the foe and smote them with their swords and spears; indeed, they would have killed every one of them, and prevented them from ever getting home again, only Minerva raised her voice aloud, and made every one pause. “Men of Ithaca,” she cried, “cease this dreadful war, and settle the matter at once without further bloodshed.”
On this pale fear seized every one; they were so frightened that their arms dropped from their hands and fell upon the ground at the sound of the goddess’ voice, and they fled back to the city for their lives. But Ulysses gave a great cry, and gathering himself together swooped down like a soaring eagle. Then the son of Saturn sent a thunderbolt of fire that fell just in front of Minerva, so she said to Ulysses, “Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, stop this warful strife, or Jove will be angry with you.”
Thus spoke Minerva, and Ulysses obeyed her gladly. Then Minerva assumed the form and voice of Mentor, and presently made a covenant of peace between the two contending parties.