To him then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer, and say: “Antinous, no fair words are these thou speakest, noble though thou art. Who pray, of himself ever seeks out and bids a stranger from abroad, unless it be one of those that are masters of some public craft, a prophet, or a healer of ills, or a builder,
aye, or a divine minstrel, who gives delight with his song? For these men are bidden all over the boundless earth. Yet a beggar would no man bid to be burden to himself. But thou art ever harsh above all the wooers to the slaves of Odysseus, and most of all to me; yet I
care not, so long as my lady, the constant Penelope, lives in the hall, and godlike Telemachus.”
Then wise Telemachus answered him: “Be silent: do not, I bid thee, answer yonder man with many words, for Antinous is wont ever in evil wise to provoke to anger
with harsh words, aye, and urges on the others too.”
With this he spoke winged words to Antinous: “Antinous, truly thou carest well for me, as a father for his son, seeing that thou biddest me drive yonder stranger from the hall with a word of compulsion. May the god never bring such a thing to pass.
Nay, take and give him somewhat: I begrudge it not, but rather myself bid thee give. In this matter regard not my mother, no, nor any of the slaves that are in the house of divine Odysseus. But verily far other is the thought in thy breast; for thou art far more fain thyself to eat than to give to another.”
Then Antinous answered him, and said: “Telemachus, thou braggart, unrestrained in daring, what a thing hast thou said! If all the wooers would but hand him as much as I, for full three months' space this house would keep him at a distance.”
So he spoke, and seized the footstool
on which he was wont to rest his shining feet as he feasted, and shewed it from beneath the table, where it lay. But all the rest gave gifts, and filled the wallet with bread and bits of meat. And now Odysseus was like to have gone back again to the threshold, and to have made trial of the Achaeans without cost,1
but he paused by Antinous, and spoke to him, saying:
“Friend, give me some gift; thou seemest not in my eyes to be the basest of the Achaeans, but rather the noblest, for thou art like a king. Therefore it is meet that thou shouldest give even a better portion of bread than the rest; so would I make thy fame known all over the boundless earth. For I too once dwelt in a house of my own among men,
a rich man in a wealthy house, and full often I gave gifts to a wanderer, whosoever he was and with whatsoever need he came. Slaves too I had past counting, and all other things in abundance whereby men live well and are reputed wealthy.