Then the son of Peleus straightway set forth other prizes for fleetness of foot: a mixingbowl of silver, richly wrought; six measures it held, and in beauty it was far the goodliest in all the earth, seeing that Sidonians, well skilled in deft handiwork, had wrought it cunningly, and men of the Phoenicians brought it over the murky deep, and landed it in harbour,
and gave it as a gift to Thoas; and as a ransom for Lycaon, son of Priam, Jason's son Euneos gave it to the warrior Patroclus. This bowl did Achilles set forth as a prize in honourof his comrade, even for him whoso should prove fleetest in speed of foot.
For the second again he set an ox great and rich with fat; and a half-talent in gold he appointed for the last. And he stood up, and spake among the Argives saying: “Up now, ye that will make essay likewise in this contest.” So spake he, and forthwith uprose swift Aias, son of Oïleus,
and Odysseus of many wiles, and after them Antilochus, Nestor's son, for he surpassed all the youths in swiftness of foot. Then took they their places in a row, and Achilles showed them the goal, and a course was marked out for them from the turning-point.1
Then speedily the son of Oïleus forged to the front, and close after him sped goodly Odysseus;
close as is the weaving-rod to the breast of a fair-girdled woman, when she deftly draweth it in her hands, pulling the spool past the warp, and holdeth the rod nigh to her breast;2
even so close behind ran Odysseus,
and his feet trod in the footsteps of Aias or ever the dust had settled therein, and down upon his head beat the breath of goodly Odysseus, as he ran ever swiftly on; and all the Achaeans shouted to further him as he struggled for victory, and called to him as he strained to the utmost. But when now they were running the last part of the course, straightway Odysseus made prayer in his heart to flashing-eyed Athene:
“Hear me, goddess, and come a goodly helper to my feet.” So spake he in prayer, and Pallas Athene heard him, and made his limbs light, his feet and his hands above. But when they were now about to dart forth to win the prize, then Aias slipped as he ran—for Athene hampered him—
where was strewn the filth from the slaying of the loud bellowing bulls that swift-footed Achilles had slain in honour of Patroclus; and with the filth of the bulls were his mouth and nostrils filled. So then much-enduring, goodly Odysseus took up the bowl, seeing he came in the first, and glorious Aias took the ox.
And he stood holding in his hands the horn of the ox of the field, spewing forth the filth; and he spake among the Argives: “Out upon it, lo, the goddess hampered me in my running, she that standeth ever by Odysseus' side like a mother, and helpeth him.”