To him then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer, and say: “Ah, wretched stranger, verily thou hast stirred my heart deeply in telling all the tale of thy sufferings and thy wanderings. But in this, methinks, thou hast not spoken aright, nor shalt thou persuade me with thy tale about Odysseus. Why shouldst thou, who art in such plight
lie to no purpose? Nay, of myself I know well regarding the return of my master, that he was utterly hated of all the gods, in that they did not slay him among the Trojans, or in the arms of his friends, when he had wound up the skein of war. Then would the whole host of the Achaeans have made him a tomb,
and for his son too he would have won great glory in days to come. But as it is the spirits of the storm have swept him away, and left no tidings. I, for my part, dwell aloof with the swine, nor do I go to the city, unless haply wise Penelope bids me thither, when tidings come to her from anywhere.
Then men sit around him that comes, and question him closely, both those that grieve for their lord, that has long been gone, and those who rejoice, as they devour his substance without atonement. But I care not to ask or enquire, since the time when an Aetolian beguiled me with his story,
one that had killed a man, and after wandering over the wide earth came to my house, and I gave him kindly welcome. He said that he had seen Odysseus among the Cretans at the house of Idomeneus, mending his ships which storms had shattered. And he said that he would come either by summer or by harvest-time,
bringing much treasure along with his godlike comrades. Thou too, old man of many sorrows, since a god has brought thee to me, seek not to win my favour by lies, nor in any wise to cajole me. It is not for this that I shall shew thee respect or kindness, but from fear of Zeus, the stranger's god, and from pity for thyself.”
Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Verily thou hast in thy bosom a heart that is slow to believe, seeing that in such wise, even with an oath, I won thee not, neither persuade thee. But come now, let us make a covenant, and the gods who hold Olympus
shall be witnesses for us both in time to come.
If thy master returns to this house, clothe me in a cloak and tunic, as raiment, and send me on my way to Dulichium, where I desire to be. But if thy master does not come as I say, set the slaves upon me, and fling me down from a great cliff,
that another beggar may beware of deceiving.”