And straightway Menelaus, good at the war-cry, asked me in quest of what I had come to goodly Lacedaemon
; and I told him all the truth. Then he made answer to me, and said:
“‘Out upon them! for verily in the bed of a man of valiant heart
were they fain to lie, who are themselves cravens. Even as when in the thicket-lair of a mighty lion a hind has laid to sleep her new-born suckling fawns, and roams over the mountain slopes and grassy vales seeking pasture, and then the lion comes to his lair
and upon the two lets loose a cruel doom, so will Odysseus let loose a cruel doom upon these men. I would, O father Zeus, and Athena, and Apollo, that in such strength, as when once in fair-stablished Lesbos
he rose up and wrestled a match with Philomeleides
and threw him mightily, and all the Achaeans rejoiced, even in such strength Odysseus might come among the wooers; then should they all find swift destruction and bitterness in their wooing. But in this matter of which thou dost ask and entreat me, verily I will not swerve aside to speak of other things, nor will I deceive thee;
but of all that the unerring old man of the sea told me, not one thing will I hide from thee or conceal. He said that he had seen Odysseus in an island in grievous distress, in the halls of the nymph Calypso, who keeps him there perforce. And he cannot come to his own native land, for he has at hand no ships with oars, and no comrades,
to send him on his way over the broad back of the sea.’
“So spoke Menelaus, son of Atreus, the famous spearman. Now when I had made an end of all this I set out for home, and the immortals gave me a fair wind and brought me quickly to my dear native land.”
So he spoke, and stirred the heart in her breast. Then among them spoke also the godlike Theoclymenus, saying:
“Honored wife of Odysseus, son of Laertes, he truly has no clear understanding; but do thou hearken to my words, for with certain knowledge will I prophesy to thee, and will hide naught.
Be my witness Zeus above all gods, and this hospitable board and the hearth of noble Odysseus to which I am come, that verily Odysseus is even now in his native land, resting or moving, learning of these evil deeds, and he is sowing the seeds of evil for all the wooers.
So plain a bird of omen did I mark as I sat on the benched ship, and I declared it to Telemachus.”
Then wise Penelope answered him: “Ah, stranger, I would that this word of thine might be fulfilled. Then shouldest thou straightway know of kindness and many a gift
from me, so that one who met thee would call the blessed.”