But Odysseus went forth from the harbor by the rough path up over the woodland and through the heights to the place where Athena had shewed him that he should find the goodly swineherd, who cared for his substance above all the slaves that goodly Odysseus had gotten.
He found him sitting in the fore-hall of his house, where his court was built high in a place of wide outlook, a great and goodly court with an open space around it. This the swineherd had himself built for the swine of his master, that was gone, without the knowledge of his mistress and the old man Laertes.
With huge stones had he built it, and set on it a coping of thorn. Without he had driven stakes the whole length, this way and that, huge stakes, set close together, which he had made by splitting an oak to the black core;1
and within the court he had made twelve sties close by one another, as beds for the swine, and in each one
were penned fifty wallowing swine, females for breeding; but the boars slept without. These were far fewer in numbers, for on them the godlike wooers feasted, and lessened them, for the swineherd ever sent in the best of all the fatted hogs,
which numbered three hundred and sixty. By these ever slept four dogs, savage as wild beasts, which the swineherd had reared, a leader of men. But he himself was fitting boots about his feet, cutting an ox-hide of good color, while the others
had gone, three of them, one here one there, with the droves of swine; and the fourth he had sent to the city to drive perforce a boar to the insolent wooers, that they might slay it and satisfy their souls with meat.
Suddenly then the baying hounds caught sight of Odysseus,
and rushed upon him with loud barking, but Odysseus sat down in his cunning, and the staff fell from his hand. Then even in his own farmstead would he have suffered cruel hurt, but the swineherd with swift steps followed after them, and hastened through the gateway, and the hide fell from his hand.
He called aloud to the dogs, and drove them this way and that with a shower of stones, and spoke to his master, and said:
“Old man, verily the dogs were like to have torn thee to pieces all of a sudden, and on me thou wouldest have shed reproach. Aye, and the gods have given me other griefs and sorrow.
It is for a godlike master that I mourn and grieve, as I abide here, and rear fat swine for other men to eat, while he haply in want of food wanders over the land and city of men of strange speech, if indeed he still lives and sees the light of the sun.
But come with me, let us go to the hut, old man, that when thou hast satisfied thy heart with food and wine, thou too mayest tell whence thou art, and all the woes thou hast endured.”