Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus answered him: “Would, Eumaeus, that thou mightest be as dear to father Zeus as thou art to me, for that thou hast made me cease from wandering and from grievous hardships. Than roaming naught else is more evil for mortals; yet for their cursed belly's sake
men endure evil woes, when wandering and sorrow and pain come upon them. But now, since thou keepest me here and biddest me await thy master, come, tell me of the mother of godlike Odysseus, and of the father, whom, when he went forth, he left behind him on the threshold of old age. Are they haply still living beneath the rays of the sun?
or are they now dead and in the house of Hades?”
Then the swineherd, a leader of men, answered him: “Then verily, stranger, will I frankly tell thee. Laertes still lives, but ever prays to Zeus that his life may waste away from his limbs within his halls.
For wondrously does he grieve for his son that is gone, and for the wise lady, his wedded wife, whose death troubled him most of all, and brought him to untimely old age. But she died of grief for her glorious son by a miserable death, as I would that no man may die
who dwells here as my friend and does me kindness. So long as she lived, though it was in sorrow, it was ever a pleasure to me to ask and enquire after her, for she herself had brought me up with long-robed Ctimene, her noble daughter, whom she bore as her youngest child.
With her was I brought up, and the mother honored me little less than her own children. But when we both reached the longed-for prime of youth they sent her to Same to wed, and got themselves countless bridal gifts, but as for me, my lady clad me in a cloak and tunic, right goodly raiment, and gave me sandals for my feet
and sent me forth to the field; but in her heart she loved me the more. But now I lack all this, though for my own part the blessed gods make to prosper the work to which I give heed. Therefrom have I eaten and drunk, and given to reverend strangers. But from my mistress I may hear naught pleasant,
whether word or deed, for a plague has fallen upon the house, even overweening men. Yet greatly do servants long to speak before their mistress, and learn of all, and to eat and drink, and thereafter to carry off somewhat also to the fields, such things as ever make the heart of a servant to grow warm.”