The Odyssey eBook

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

Now when the child of morning rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, Nestor left his couch and took his seat on the benches of white and polished marble that stood in front of his house.  Here aforetime sat Neleus, peer of gods in counsel, but he was now dead, and had gone to the house of Hades; so Nestor sat in his seat sceptre in hand, as guardian of the public weal.  His sons as they left their rooms gathered round him, Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Aretus, and Thrasymedes; the sixth son was Pisistratus, and when Telemachus joined them they made him sit with them.  Nestor then addressed them.

“My sons,” said he, “make haste to do as I shall bid you.  I wish first and foremost to propitiate the great goddess Minerva, who manifested herself visibly to me during yesterday’s festivities.  Go, then, one or other of you to the plain, tell the stockman to look me out a heifer, and come on here with it at once.  Another must go to Telemachus’ ship, and invite all the crew, leaving two men only in charge of the vessel.  Some one else will run and fetch Laerceus the goldsmith to gild the horns of the heifer.  The rest, stay all of you where you are; tell the maids in the house to prepare an excellent dinner, and to fetch seats, and logs of wood for a burnt offering.  Tell them also to bring me some clear spring water.”

On this they hurried off on their several errands.  The heifer was brought in from the plain, and Telemachus’s crew came from the ship; the goldsmith brought the anvil, hammer, and tongs, with which he worked his gold, and Minerva herself came to accept the sacrifice.  Nestor gave out the gold, and the smith gilded the horns of the heifer that the goddess might have pleasure in their beauty.  Then Stratius and Echephron brought her in by the horns; Aretus fetched water from the house in a ewer that had a flower pattern on it, and in his other hand he held a basket of barley meal; sturdy Thrasymedes stood by with a sharp axe, ready to strike the heifer, while Perseus held a bucket.  Then Nestor began with washing his hands and sprinkling the barley meal, and he offered many a prayer to Minerva as he threw a lock from the heifer’s head upon the fire.

When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley meal {32} Thrasymedes dealt his blow, and brought the heifer down with a stroke that cut through the tendons at the base of her neck, whereon the daughters and daughters in law of Nestor, and his venerable wife Eurydice (she was eldest daughter to Clymenus) screamed with delight.  Then they lifted the heifer’s head from off the ground, and Pisistratus cut her throat.  When she had done bleeding and was quite dead, they cut her up.  They cut out the thigh bones all in due course, wrapped them round in two layers of fat, and set some pieces of raw meat on the top of them; then Nestor laid them upon the wood fire and poured wine over them, while the young men stood near him with five-pronged spits in their hands.  When the thighs were burned and they had tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest of the meat up small, put the pieces on the spits and toasted them over the fire.

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.