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  "I will tell you then truth," replied her son. "We went to Pylos andsaw Nestor, who took me to his house and treated me as hospitably asthough I were a son of his own who had just returned after a longabsence; so also did his sons; but he said he had not heard a wordfrom any human being about Ulysses, whether he was alive or dead. Hesent me, therefore, with a chariot and horses to Menelaus. There I sawHelen, for whose sake so many, both Argives and Trojans, were inheaven's wisdom doomed to suffer. Menelaus asked me what it was thathad brought me to Lacedaemon, and I told him the whole truth,whereon he said, 'So, then, these cowards would usurp a brave man'sbed? A hind might as well lay her new-born young in the lair of alion, and then go off to feed in the forest or in some grassy dell.The lion, when he comes back to his lair, will make short work withthe pair of them, and so will Ulysses with these suitors. By fatherJove, Minerva, and Apollo, if Ulysses is still the man that he waswhen he wrestled with Philomeleides in Lesbos, and threw him soheavily that all the Greeks cheered him- if he is still such, and wereto come near these suitors, they would have a short shrift and a sorrywedding. As regards your question, however, I will not prevaricate nordeceive you, but what the old man of the sea told me, so much will Itell you in full. He said he could see Ulysses on an islandsorrowing bitterly in the house of the nymph Calypso, who waskeeping him prisoner, and he could not reach his home, for he had noships nor sailors to take him over the sea.' This was what Menelaustold me, and when I had heard his story I came away; the gods thengave me a fair wind and soon brought me safe home again." pixie wig

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  With these words he moved the heart of Penelope. Then Theoclymenussaid to her:

  "Madam, wife of Ulysses, Telemachus does not understand thesethings; listen therefore to me, for I can divine them surely, and willhide nothing from you. May Jove the king of heaven be my witness,and the rites of hospitality, with that hearth of Ulysses to which Inow come, that Ulysses himself is even now in Ithaca, and, eithergoing about the country or staying in one place, is enquiring into allthese evil deeds and preparing a day of reckoning for the suitors. Isaw an omen when I was on the ship which meant this, and I toldTelemachus about it."

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  "May it be even so," answered Penelope; "if your words come true,you shall have such gifts and such good will from me that all whosee you shall congratulate you." large cap wigs

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  Thus did they converse. Meanwhile the suitors were throwing discs,or aiming with spears at a mark on the levelled ground in front of thehouse, and behaving with all their old insolence. But when it wasnow time for dinner, and the flock of sheep and goats had come intothe town from all the country round, with their shepherds as usual,then Medon, who was their favourite servant, and who waited uponthem at table, said, "Now then, my young masters, you have hadenough sport, so come inside that we may get dinner ready. Dinner isnot a bad thing, at dinner time."

  They left their sports as he told them, and when they were withinthe house, they laid their cloaks on the benches and seats inside, andthen sacrificed some sheep, goats, pigs, and a heifer, all of them fatand well grown. Thus they made ready for their meal. In the meantimeUlysses and the swineherd were about starting for the town, and theswineherd said, "Stranger, I suppose you still want to go to townto-day, as my master said you were to do; for my own part I shouldhave liked you to stay here as a station hand, but I must do as mymaster tells me, or he will scold me later on, and a scolding fromone's master is a very serious thing. Let us then be off, for it isnow broad day; it will be night again directly and then you willfind it colder."

  "I know, and understand you," replied Ulysses; "you need say nomore. Let us be going, but if you have a stick ready cut, let mehave it to walk with, for you say the road is a very rough one."

  As he spoke he threw his shabby old tattered wallet over hisshoulders, by the cord from which it hung, and Eumaeus gave him astick to his liking. The two then started, leaving the station incharge of the dogs and herdsmen who remained behind; the swineherd ledthe way and his master followed after, looking like some broken-downold tramp as he leaned upon his staff, and his clothes were all inrags. When they had got over the rough steep ground and were nearingthe city, they reached the fountain from which the citizens drew theirwater. This had been made by Ithacus, Neritus, and Polyctor. There wasa grove of water-loving poplars planted in a circle all round it,and the clear cold water came down to it from a rock high up, whileabove the fountain there was an altar to the nymphs, at which allwayfarers used to sacrifice. Here Melanthius son of Dolius overtookthem as he was driving down some goats, the best in his flock, for thesuitors' dinner, and there were two shepherds with him. When he sawEumaeus and Ulysses he reviled them with outrageous and unseemlylanguage, which made Ulysses very angry.

  "There you go," cried he, "and a precious pair you are. See howheaven brings birds of the same feather to one another. Where, pray,master swineherd, are you taking this poor miserable object? Itwould make any one sick to see such a creature at table. A fellow likethis never won a prize for anything in his life, but will go aboutrubbing his shoulders against every man's door post, and begging,not for swords and cauldrons like a man, but only for a few scraps notworth begging for. If you would give him to me for a hand on mystation, he might do to clean out the folds, or bring a bit of sweetfeed to the kids, and he could fatten his thighs as much as he pleasedon whey; but he has taken to bad ways and will not go about any kindof work; he will do nothing but beg victuals all the town over, tofeed his insatiable belly. I say, therefore and it shall surely be- ifhe goes near Ulysses' house he will get his head broken by thestools they will fling at him, till they turn him out."

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