But the two, Odysseus and the goodly swineherd, were supping in the hut, and with them supped the other men. But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, Odysseus spoke among them, making trial of the swineherd to see
whether he would still entertain him with kindly care and bid him remain there at the farmstead, or send him forth to the city:
“Hearken now, Eumaeus, and all ye other men. In the morning I am minded to go forth to the city to beg, that I may not be the ruin of thee and of thy men. Now then, give me good counsel, and send with me a trusty guide to lead me thither;
but through the city will I wander by myself perforce, in the hope that one haply will give me a cup of water and a loaf. Aye, and I would go to the house of godlike Odysseus and bear tidings to the wise Penelope,
and join the company of the insolent wooers, if perchance they may give me a meal, since they have good cheer in abundance. Straightway might I do good service among them in all that they would. For I will tell thee, and do thou give heed and hearken. By the favour of Hermes, the messenger, who
lends grace and glory to all men's work, in the business of serving no man beside can vie with me, in piling well a fire, in splitting dry faggots, in carving and roasting meat, and in pouring wine —in all things in which meaner men serve the noble.”
Then deeply moved didst thou speak to him, swineherd Eumaeus: “Ah me, stranger, why has such a thought come into thy mind? Verily thou art fain utterly to perish there, if thou wouldest indeed enter the throng of the wooers, whose wantonness and violence reach the iron heaven.
Not such as thou are their serving men; nay, they that serve them are young men, well clad in cloaks and tunics, and ever are their heads and bright faces sleek; and polished tables are laden with bread, and meat, and wine.
Nay, abide here; there is none that is vexed by thy presence, not I, nor any other of the men that are with me. But when the dear son of Odysseus comes, he will himself clothe thee in a cloak and a tunic as raiment, and will send thee whithersoever thy heart and spirit bid thee go.”