Homer: The Odyssey

19. Book XIX

Telemachus removes the arms out of the hall. Odysseus disburseth with Penelope. And is known by his nurse, but concealed. And the hunting of the boar upon that occasion related.

Now the goodly Odysseus was left behind in the hall, devising with Athene's aid the slaying of the wooers, and straightway he spake winged words to Telemachus:

'Telemachus, we must needs lay by the weapons of war within, every one; and when the wooers miss them and ask thee concerning them, thou shalt beguile them with soft words, saying:

'Out of the smoke I laid them by, since they were no longer like those that Odysseus left behind him of old, when he went to Troy, but they are wholly marred, so mightily hath passed upon them the vapour of fire. Moreover some god hath put into my heart this other and greater care, that perchance when ye are heated with wine, ye set a quarrel between you and wound one the other, and thereby shame the feast and the wooing; for iron of itself draws a man thereto.'

Thus he spake, and Telemachus hearkened to his dear father, and called forth to him the nurse Eurycleia and spake to her, saying:

'Nurse, come now I pray thee, shut up the women in their chambers till I shall have laid by in the armoury the goodly weapons of my father, which all uncared for the smoke dims in the hall, since my father went hence, and I was still but a child. Now I wish to lay them by where the vapour of the fire will not reach them.'

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered him, saying: 'Ah, my child, if ever thou wouldest but take careful thought in such wise as to mind the house, and guard all this wealth! But come, who shall fetch the light and bear it, if thou hast thy way, since thou wouldest not that the maidens, who might have given light, should go before thee?'

Then wise Telemachus made answer to her: 'This stranger here, for I will keep no man in idleness who eats of my bread, even if he have come from afar.'

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