"I will tell you the truth, my son," replied Ulysses. "It was thePhaeacians who brought me here. They are great sailors, and are in thehabit of giving escorts to any one who reaches their coasts. They tookme over the sea while I was fast asleep, and landed me in Ithaca,after giving me many presents in bronze, gold, and raiment. Thesethings by heaven's mercy are lying concealed in a cave, and I am nowcome here on the suggestion of Minerva that we may consult aboutkilling our enemies. First, therefore, give me a list of thesuitors, with their number, that I may learn who, and how many, theyare. I can then turn the matter over in my mind, and see whether wetwo can fight the whole body of them ourselves, or whether we mustfind others to help us."
To this Telemachus answered, "Father, I have always heard of yourrenown both in the field and in council, but the task you talk of is avery great one: I am awed at the mere thought of it; two men cannotstand against many and brave ones. There are not ten suitors only, nortwice ten, but ten many times over; you shall learn their number atonce. There are fifty-two chosen youths from Dulichium, and theyhave six servants; from Same there are twenty-four; twenty youngAchaeans from Zacynthus, and twelve from Ithaca itself, all of themwell born. They have with them a servant Medon, a bard, and two menwho can carve at table. If we face such numbers as this, you mayhave bitter cause to rue your coming, and your revenge. See whetheryou cannot think of some one who would be willing to come and helpus."
"Listen to me," replied Ulysses, "and think whether Minerva andher father Jove may seem sufficient, or whether I am to try and findsome one else as well." cascading curls
"Those whom you have named," answered Telemachus, "are a couple ofgood allies, for though they dwell high up among the clouds theyhave power over both gods and men." bob wigs for sale
"These two," continued Ulysses, "will not keep long out of the fray,when the suitors and we join fight in my house. Now, therefore, returnhome early to-morrow morning, and go about among the suitors asbefore. Later on the swineherd will bring me to the city disguisedas a miserable old beggar. If you see them ill-treating me, steel yourheart against my sufferings; even though they drag me feet foremostout of the house, or throw things at me, look on and do nothing beyondgently trying to make them behave more reasonably; but they will notlisten to you, for the day of their reckoning is at hand.Furthermore I say, and lay my saying to your heart, when Minerva shallput it in my mind, I will nod my head to you, and on seeing me do thisyou must collect all the armour that is in the house and hide it inthe strong store room. Make some excuse when the suitors ask you whyyou are removing it; say that you have taken it to be out of the wayof the smoke, inasmuch as it is no longer what it was when Ulysseswent away, but has become soiled and begrimed with soot. Add to thismore particularly that you are afraid Jove may set them on toquarrel over their wine, and that they may do each other some harmwhich may disgrace both banquet and wooing, for the sight of armssometimes tempts people to use them. But leave a sword and a spearapiece for yourself and me, and a couple oxhide shields so that we cansnatch them up at any moment; Jove and Minerva will then soon quietthese people. There is also another matter; if you are indeed my sonand my blood runs in your veins, let no one know that Ulysses iswithin the house- neither Laertes, nor yet the swineherd, nor any ofthe servants, nor even Penelope herself. Let you and me exploit thewomen alone, and let us also make trial of some other of the menservants, to see who is on our side and whose hand is against us."
"Father," replied Telemachus, "you will come to know me by and by,and when you do you will find that I can keep your counsel. I do notthink, however, the plan you propose will turn out well for eitherof us. Think it over. It will take us a long time to go the round ofthe farms and exploit the men, and all the time the suitors will bewasting your estate with impunity and without compunction. Prove thewomen by all means, to see who are disloyal and who guiltless, but Iam not in favour of going round and trying the men. We can attend tothat later on, if you really have some sign from Jove that he willsupport you."
Thus did they converse, and meanwhile the ship which had broughtTelemachus and his crew from Pylos had reached the town of Ithaca.When they had come inside the harbour they drew the ship on to theland; their servants came and took their armour from them, and theyleft all the presents at the house of Clytius. Then they sent aservant to tell Penelope that Telemachus had gone into the country,but had sent the ship to the town to prevent her from being alarmedand made unhappy. This servant and Eumaeus happened to meet whenthey were both on the same errand of going to tell Penelope. When theyreached the House, the servant stood up and said to the queen in thepresence of the waiting women, "Your son, Madam, is now returnedfrom Pylos"; but Eumaeus went close up to Penelope, and said privatelythat her son had given bidden him tell her. When he had given hismessage he left the house with its outbuildings and went back to hispigs again.
The suitors were surprised and angry at what had happened, so theywent outside the great wall that ran round the outer court, and held acouncil near the main entrance. Eurymachus, son of Polybus, was thefirst to speak.
"My friends," said he, "this voyage of Telemachus's is a veryserious matter; we had made sure that it would come to nothing. Now,however, let us draw a ship into the water, and get a crew together tosend after the others and tell them to come back as fast as they can."