The Odyssey eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 428 pages of information about The Odyssey.

Book III

  Nestor entertains Telemachus at Pylos and tells him how the
  Greeks departed from Troy; and sends him for further
  information to Sparta.

Now the sun arose and left the lovely mere, speeding to the brazen heaven, to give light to the immortals and to mortal men on the earth, the graingiver, and they reached Pylos, the stablished castle of Neleus.  There the people were doing sacrifice on the sea shore, slaying black bulls without spot to the dark-haired god, the shaker of the earth.  Nine companies there were, and five hundred men sat in each, and in every company they held nine bulls ready to hand.  Just as they had tasted the inner parts, and were burning the slices of the thighs on the altar to the god, the others were bearing straight to land, and brailed up the sails of the gallant ship, and moored her, and themselves came forth.  And Telemachus too stept forth from the ship, and Athene led the way.  And the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake first to him, saying: 

’Telemachus, thou needst not now be abashed, no, not one whit.  For to this very end didst thou sail over the deep, that thou mightest hear tidings of thy father, even where the earth closed over him, and what manner of death he met.  But come now, go straight to Nestor, tamer of horses:  let us learn what counsel he hath in the secret of his heart.  And beseech him thyself that he may give unerring answer; and he will not lie to thee, for he is very wise.’

The wise Telemachus answered, saying:  ’Mentor, and how shall I go, how shall I greet him, I, who am untried in words of wisdom?  Moreover a young man may well be abashed to question an elder.’

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake to him again:  ’Telemachus, thou shalt bethink thee of somewhat in thine own breast, and somewhat the god will give thee to say.  For thou, methinks, of all men wert not born and bred without the will of the gods.’

So spake Pallas Athene and led the way quickly; and he followed hard in the steps of the goddess.  And they came to the gathering and the session of the men of Pylos.  There was Nestor seated with his sons, and round him his company making ready the feast, and roasting some of the flesh and spitting other.  Now when they saw the strangers, they went all together, and clasped their hands in welcome, and would have them sit down.  First Peisistratus, son of Nestor, drew nigh, and took the hands of each, and made them to sit down at the feast on soft fleeces upon the sea sand, beside his brother Thrasymedes and his father.  And he gave them messes of the inner meat, and poured wine into a golden cup, and pledging her, he spake unto Pallas Athene, daughter of Zeus, lord of the aegis: 

’Pray now, my guest, to the lord Poseidon, even as it is his feast whereon ye have chanced in coming hither.  And when thou hast made drink offering and prayed, as is due, give thy friend also the cup of honeyed wine to make offering thereof, inasmuch as he too, methinks, prayeth to the deathless gods, for all men stand in need of the gods.  Howbeit he is younger and mine own equal in years, therefore to thee first will I give the golden chalice.’

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.