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Night after him Odysseus entered the palace in the likeness of a woeful and aged beggar, leaning on a staff, and miserable was the raiment that he wore about his body. He sat down upon the ashen threshold within the doorway, [340] leaning against a post of cypress wood, which of old a carpenter had skilfully planed, and made straight to the line. Then Telemachus called the swineherd to him, and, taking a whole loaf from out the beautiful basket, and all the meat his hands could hold in their grasp, spoke to him saying: [345] “Take, and give this mess to yon stranger, and bid him go about himself and beg of the wooers one and all. Shame is no good comrade for a man that is in need.” So he spoke, and the swineherd went, when he had heard this saying, and coming up to Odysseus spoke to him winged words: [350] “Stranger, Telemachus gives thee these, and bids thee go about and beg of the wooers one and all. Shame, he says, is no good thing in a beggar man.” Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said, “King Zeus, grant, I pray thee, that Telemachus may be blest among men, [355] and may have all that his heart desires.” He spoke, and took the mess in both his hands and set it down there before his feet on his miserable wallet. Then he ate so long as the minstrel sang in the halls. But when he had dined and the divine minstrel was ceasing to sing, [360] the wooers broke into uproar throughout the halls; but Athena drew close to the side of Odysseus, son of Laertes, and roused him to go among the wooers and gather bits of bread, and learn which of them were righteous and which lawless. Yet even so she was not minded to save one of them from ruin. [365] So he set out to beg of every man, beginning on the right, stretching out his hand on every side, as though he had been long a beggar. And they pitied him and gave, and marvelled at him, asking one another who he was and whence he came. Then among them spoke Melanthius, the goatherd: [370] “Hear me, wooers of the glorious queen, regarding this stranger, for verily I have seen him before. Truly it was the swineherd that led him hither, but of the man himself I know not surely from whence he declares his birth to be.” So he spoke, and Antinous rebuked the swineherd, saying: [375] “Notorious swineherd, why, pray, didst thou bring this man to the city? Have we not vagabonds enough without him, nuisances of beggars to mar our feast? Dost thou not think it enough that they gather here and devour the substance of thy master, that thou dost bid this fellow too?”

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