Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Lo now, surely when thou wast but a child, swineherd Eumaeus, thou didst wander far from thy country and thy parents. But come now, tell me this, and declare it truly. Was a broad-wayed city of men sacked,
wherein thy father and honored mother dwelt? Or, when thou wast alone with thy sheep or cattle, did foemen take thee in their ships and bear thee for sale to the house of this thy master, who paid for thee a goodly price?”
Then the swineherd, a leader of men, answered him:
“Stranger, since thou dost ask and question me of this, hearken now in silence, and take thy joy, and drink thy wine, as thou sittest here. These nights are wondrous long. There is time for sleep, and there is time to take joy in hearing tales; thou needest not lay thee down till it be time; there is weariness even in too much sleep.
As for the rest, if any man's heart and spirit bid him, let him go forth and sleep, and at daybreak let him eat, and follow our master's swine. But we two will drink and feast in the hut, and will take delight each in the other's grievous woes,
as we recall them to mind. For in after time a man finds joy even in woes, whosoever has suffered much, and wandered much. But this will I tell thee, of which thou dost ask and enquire.
“There is an isle called Syria
, if haply thou hast heard thereof, above Ortygia, where are the turning-places of the sun.
It is not so very thickly settled, but it is a good land, rich in herds, rich in flocks, full of wine, abounding in wheat. Famine never comes into the land, nor does any hateful sickness besides fall on wretched mortals; but when the tribes of men grow old throughout the city,
Apollo, of the silver bow, comes with Artemis, and assails them with his gentle shafts, and slays them. In that isle are two cities, and all the land is divided between them, and over both ruled as king my father, Ctesius, son of Ormenus, a man like to the immortals.