To him then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer, and say: “I see, I give heed; this thou biddest one with understanding. But come now, tell me this, and declare it truly; whether I shall go on the self-same way with tidings to Laertes also, wretched man, who for a time, though grieving sorely for Odysseus,
was still wont to oversee the fields, and would eat and drink with the slaves in the house, as the heart in his breast bade him. But now, from the day when thou wentest in thy ship to Pylos
, they say he has no more eaten and drunk as before, nor overseen the fields, but with groaning and wailing
he sits and weeps, and the flesh wastes from off his bones.”
Then wise Telemachus answered him: “'Tis the sadder; but none the less we will let him be, despite our sorrow; for if in any wise all things might be had by mortals for the wishing, we should choose first of all the day of my father's return.
No, do thou come back, when thou hast given thy message, and wander not over the fields in search of Laertes; but did my mother with all speed send forth her handmaid, the housewife, secretly, for she might bear word to the old man.”
With this he roused the swineherd, and he took his sandals in his hands
and bound them beneath his feet and went forth to the city. Nor was Athena unaware that the swineherd Eumaeus was gone from the farmstead, but she drew near in the likeness of a woman, comely and tall, and skilled in glorious handiwork. And she stood over against the door of the hut, shewing herself to Odysseus,
but Telemachus did not see her before him, or notice her; for in no wise do the gods appear in manifest presence to all. But Odysseus saw her, and the hounds, and they barked not, but with whining slunk in fear to the further side of the farmstead. The she made a sign with her brows, and goodly Odysseus perceived it,
and went forth from the hall, past the great wall of the court, and stood before her, and Athena spoke to him, saying:
“Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, even now do thou reveal thy word to thy son, and hide it not, that when you two have planned death and fate for the wooers,
you may go to the famous city. Nor will I myself be long away from you, for I am eager for the battle.”
With this, Athena touched him with her golden wand. A well-washed cloak and a tunic she first of all cast about his breast, and she increased his stature and his youthful bloom.
Once more he grew dark of color, and his cheeks filled out, and dark grew the beard about his chin. Then, when she had wrought thus, she departed, but Odysseus went into the hut. And his dear son marvelled, and, seized with fear, turned his eyes aside, lest it should be a god.
And he spoke, and addressed him with winged words:
“Of other sort thou seemest to me now, stranger, than awhile ago, and other are the garments thou hast on, and thy color is no more the same. Verily thou art a god, one of those who hold broad heaven. Nay then, be gracious, that we may offer to thee acceptable sacrifices
and golden gifts, finely wrought; but do thou spare us.”