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Thus they spoke to one another. And the wooers meanwhile in front of the palace of Odysseus were making merry, throwing the discus and the javelin in a levelled place, as their wont was, in insolence of heart. [170] But when it was the hour for dinner, and the flocks came in from all sides from the fields, and the men led them who were wont to lead, then Medon, who of all the heralds was most to their liking and was ever present at their feasts, spoke to them, saying: “Youths, now that you have all made glad your hearts with sport, [175] come to the house that we may make ready a feast; for it is no bad thing to take one's dinner in season.” So he spoke, and they rose up and went, and hearkened to his word. And when they had come to the stately house they laid their cloaks on the chairs and high seats, [180] and men fell to slaying great sheep and fat goats, aye, and fatted and swine, and a heifer of the herd, and so made ready the meal. But Odysseus and the goodly swineherd were making haste to go from the field to the city; and the swineherd, a leader of men, spoke first, and said: [185] “Stranger, since thou art eager to go the city today, as my master bade—though for myself I would rather have thee left here to keep the farmstead; but I reverence and fear him, lest hereafter he chide me, and hard are the rebukes of masters— [190] come now, let us go. The day is far spent, and soon thou wilt find it colder toward evening.” Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “I see, I give heed; this thou biddest one with understanding. Come, let us go, and be thou my guide all the way. [195] But give me a staff to lean upon, if thou hast one cut anywhere, for verily ye said that the way was treacherous.” He spoke, and flung about his shoulders his miserable wallet, full of holes, slung by a twisted cord, and Eumaeus gave him a staff to his liking. [200] So they two set forth, and the dogs and the herdsmen stayed behind to guard the farmstead; but the swineherd led his master to the city in the likeness of a woeful and aged beggar, leaning on a staff; and miserable was the raiment that he wore about his body.

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