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Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus answered him: “Be sure I am no god; why dost thou liken me to the immortals? Nay, I am thy father, for whose sake thou dost with groaning endure many griefs, and submittest to the violence of men.” [190] So saying, he kissed his son, and from his cheeks let fall a tear to earth, but before he ever steadfastly held them back. Howbeit Telemachus—for he did not yet believe that it was his father—again answered, and spoke to him, saying: “Thou verily art not my father Odysseus, but some god [195] beguiles me, that I may weep and groan yet more. For nowise could a mortal man contrive this by his own wit, unless a god were himself to come to him, and easily by his will make him young or old. For verily but now thou wast an old man and meanly clad, [200] whereas now thou art like the gods, who hold broad heaven.” Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Telemachus, it beseems thee not to wonder overmuch that thy father is in the house, or to be amazed. For thou mayest be sure no other Odysseus will ever come hither; [205] but I here, I, even such as thou seest me, after sufferings and many wanderings, am come in the twentieth year to my native land. But this, thou must know, is the work of Athena, driver of the spoil, who makes me such as she will—for she has the power—now like a beggar, and now again [210] like a young man, and one wearing fair raiment about his body. Easy it is for the gods, who hold broad heaven, both to glorify a mortal man and to abase him.” So saying, he sat down, and Telemachus, flinging his arms about his noble father, wept and shed tears, [215] and in the hearts of both arose a longing for lamentation. And they wailed aloud more vehemently than birds, sea-eagles, or vultures with crooked talons, whose young the country-folk have taken from their nest before they were fledged; even so piteously did they let tears fall from beneath their brows. [220] And now would the light of the sun have gone down upon their weeping, had not Telemachus spoken to his father suddenly: “In what manner of ship, dear father, have sailors now brought thee hither to Ithaca? Who did they declare themselves to be? For nowise, methinks, didst thou come hither on foot.”

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