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[80] Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Father of us all, thou son of Cronos, high above all lords, if indeed this is now well pleasing to the blessed gods, that the wise Odysseus should return to his own home, let us send forth Hermes, the messenger, Argeiphontes, [85] to the isle Ogygia, that with all speed he may declare to the fair-tressed nymph our fixed resolve, even the return of Odysseus of the steadfast heart, that he may come home. But, as for me, I will go to Ithaca, that I may the more arouse his son, and set courage in his heart [90] to call to an assembly the long-haired Achaeans, and speak out his word to all the wooers, who are ever slaying his thronging sheep and his sleek1 kine of shambling gait. And I will guide him to Sparta and to sandy Pylos, to seek tidings of the return of his dear father, if haply he may hear of it, [95] that good report may be his among men.” So she spoke, and bound beneath her feet her beautiful sandals, immortal,2 golden, which were wont to bear her both over the waters of the sea and over the boundless land swift as the blasts of the wind. And she took her mighty spear, tipped with sharp bronze, [100] heavy and huge and strong, wherewith she vanquishes the ranks of men—of warriors, with whom she is wroth, she, the daughter of the mighty sire. Then she went darting down from the heights of Olympus, and took her stand in the land of Ithaca at the outer gate of Odysseus, on the threshold of the court. In her hand she held the spear of bronze, [105] and she was in the likeness of a stranger, Mentes, the leader of the Taphians. There she found the proud wooers. They were taking their pleasure at draughts in front of the doors, sitting on the hides of oxen which they themselves had slain; and of the heralds3 and busy squires, [110] some were mixing wine and water for them in bowls, others again were washing the tables with porous sponges and setting them forth, while still others were portioning out meats in abundance. Her the godlike Telemachus was far the first to see, for he was sitting among the wooers, sad at heart, [115] seeing in thought his noble father, should he perchance come from somewhere and make a scattering of the wooers in the palace, and himself win honor and rule over his own house. As he thought of these things, sitting among the wooers, he beheld Athena, and he went straight to the outer door; for in his heart he counted it shame [120] that a stranger should stand long at the gates. So, drawing near, he clasped her right hand, and took from her the spear of bronze; and he spoke, and addressed her with winged words:4 “Hail, stranger; in our house thou shalt find entertainment and then, when thou hast tasted food, thou shalt tell of what thou hast need.”

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