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Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Then verily I will frankly tell thee all. Would that now we two might have food and sweet wine for the while, [195] to feast on in quiet here in thy hut, and that others might go about their work; easily then might I tell on for a full year, and yet in no wise finish the tale of the woes of my spirit—even all the toils that I have endured by the will of the gods. “From broad Crete I declare that I am come by lineage, [200] the son of a wealthy man. And many other sons too were born and bred in his halls, true sons of a lawful wife; but the mother that bore me was bought, a concubine. Yet Castor, son of Hylax, of whom I declare that I am sprung, honored me even as his true-born sons. [205] He was at that time honored as a god among the Cretans in the land for his good estate, and his wealth, and his glorious sons. But the fates of death bore him away to the house of Hades, and his proud sons divided among them his substance, and cast lots therefor. [210] To me they gave a very small portion, and allotted a dwelling. But I took unto me a wife from a house that had wide possessions, winning her by my valor; for I was no weakling, nor a coward in fight. Now all that strength is gone; yet even so, in seeing the stubble, methinks [215] thou mayest judge what the grain was; for verily troubles in full measure encompass me. But then Ares and Athena gave me courage, and strength that breaks the ranks of men; and whenever I picked the best warriors for an ambush, sowing the seeds of evil for the foe, never did my proud spirit forbode death, [220] but ever far the first did I leap forth, and slay with my spear whosoever of the foe gave way in flight before me.1 Such a man was I in war, but labour in the field was never to my liking, nor the care of a household, which rears goodly children, but oared ships were ever dear to me, [225] and wars, and polished spears, and arrows,—grievous things, whereat others are wont to shudder. But those things, I ween, were dear to me, which a god put in my heart; for different men take joy in different works. For before the sons of the Achaeans set foot on the land of Troy, [230] I had nine times led warriors and swift-faring ships against foreign folk, and great spoil had ever fallen to my hands. Of this I would choose what pleased my mind, and much I afterwards obtained by lot. Thus my house straightway grew rich, and thereafter I became one feared and honored among the Cretans.

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