Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus answered: “Not long of a surety will those two hold aloof from the mighty fray, when between the wooers and us in my halls the might of Ares is put to the test.
But for the present, do thou go at daybreak to thy house and join the company of the haughty wooers. As for me, the swineherd will lead me later on to the city in the likeness of a woeful and aged beggar. And if they shall put despite on me in the house,
let the heart in thy breast endure while I am evil entreated, even if they drag me by the feet through the house to the door, or hurl at me and smite me; still do thou endure to behold it. Thou shalt indeed bid them cease their folly, seeking to dissuade them with gentle words; yet in no wise
will they hearken to thee, for verily their day of doom is at hand. And another thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart. When Athena, rich in counsel, shall put it in my mind, I will nod to thee with my head; and do thou thereupon, when thou notest it, take all the weapons of war that lie in thy halls,
and lay them away one and all in the secret place of the lofty store-room. And as for the wooers, when they miss the arms and question thee, do thou beguile them with gentle words, saying:
“‘Out of the smoke have I laid them,1
since they are no longer like those which of old Odysseus left behind him when he went forth to Troy
but are all befouled so far as the breath of the fire has reached them. And furthermore this greater fear has the son of Cronos put in my heart, lest haply, when heated with wine, you may set a quarrel afoot among you and wound one another, and so bring shame on your feast and on your wooing. For of itself does the iron draw a man to it.’
“But for us two alone do thou leave behind two swords and two spears, and two ox-hide shields for us to grasp, that we may rush upon them and seize them; while as for the wooers, Pallas Athena and Zeus, the counsellor, will beguile them. And another thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart.
If in truth thou art my son and of our blood, then let no one hear that Odysseus is at home; neither let Laertes know it, nor the swineherd, nor any of the household, nor Penelope herself; but by ourselves thou and I will learn the temper of the women.
Aye, and we will likewise make trial of many a one of the serving men, and see where any of them honours us two and fears us at heart, and who recks not of us and scorns thee, a man so goodly.”