"You are not my father, but some
daimôn is flattering me with vain hopes that I may
grieve the more hereafter; no mortal man could of himself contrive
with his noos to do as you have been doing, and make yourself
old and young at a moment's notice, unless a god were with him.
A second ago you were old and all in rags, and now you are like some
god come down from heaven."
Odysseus answered, "Telemakhos,
you ought not to be so immeasurably astonished at my being really
here. There is no other Odysseus who will come hereafter. Such as I
am, it is I, who after long wandering and much hardship have got home
in the twentieth year to my own country. What you wonder at is the
work of the redoubtable goddess Athena, who does with me whatever she
will, for she can do what she pleases. At one moment she makes me
like a beggar, and the next I am a young man with good clothes on my
back; it is an easy matter for the gods who live in heaven to make
any man look either rich or poor."
As he spoke he sat down, and
Telemakhos threw his arms about his father and wept. They were both
so much moved that they cried aloud like eagles or vultures with
crooked talons that have been robbed of their half fledged young by
peasants. Thus piteously did they weep, and the sun would have gone
down upon their mourning if Telemakhos had not suddenly said, "In
what ship, my dear father, did your crew bring you to Ithaca
? Of what
nation did they declare themselves to be - for you cannot have come
"I will tell you the truth
[alêtheia], my son," replied Odysseus. "It was
the Phaeacians who brought me here. They are great sailors, and are
in the habit of giving escorts to any one who reaches their coasts.
They took me over the sea while I was fast asleep, and landed me in
, after giving me many presents in bronze, gold, and raiment.
These things by heaven's mercy are lying concealed in a cave,
and I am now come here on the suggestion of Athena that we may
consult about killing our enemies. First, therefore, give me a list
of the suitors, with their number, that I may learn who, and how
many, they are. I can then turn the matter over in my mind, and see
whether we two can fight the whole body of them ourselves, or whether
we must find others to help us."