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[560] Then the much-enduring goodly Odysseus answered him: “Eumaeus, soon will I tell all the truth to the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope. For well do I know of Odysseus, and in common have we borne affliction. But I have fear of this throng of harsh wooers, [565] whose wantonness and violence reach the iron heaven. For even now, when, as I was going through the hall doing no evil, this man struck me and hurt me, neither Telemachus nor any other did aught to ward off the blow. Wherefore now bid Penelope [570] to wait in the halls, eager though she be, till set of sun; and then let her ask me of her husband regarding the day of his return, giving me a seat nearer the fire, for lo, the raiment that I wear is mean, and this thou knowest of thyself, for to thee first did I make my prayer.” So he spoke, and the swineherd went when he had heard this saying. [575] And as he passed over the threshold Penelope said to him: “Thou dost not bring him, Eumaeus. What does the wanderer mean by this? Does he fear some one beyond measure, or does he idly feel ashamed in the house? 'Tis ill for a beggar to feel shame.” To her, then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer and say: [580] “He speaks rightly, even as any other man would deem, in seeking to shun the insolence of overweening men. But he bids thee to wait till set of sun. And for thyself, too, it is far more seemly, O queen, to speak to the stranger alone, and to hear his words.” [585] Then wise Penelope answered him: “Not without wisdom is the stranger; he divines how it may be. There are no mortal men, methinks, who in wantonness devise such wicked folly as these.” So she spoke, and the goodly swineherd departed [590] into the throng of the wooers when he had told her all. And straightway he spoke winged words to Telemachus, holding his head close to him that the others might not hear: “Friend, I am going forth to guard the swine and all things there, thy livelihood and mine; but have thou charge of all things here. [595] Thine own self do thou keep safe first of all, and let thy mind beware lest some ill befall thee, for many of the Achaeans are devising evil, whom may Zeus utterly destroy before harm fall on us.” Then wise Telemachus answered him: “So shall it be, father; go thy way when thou hast supped. [600] And in the morning do thou come and bring goodly victims. But all matters here shall be a care to me and to the immortals.” So he spoke, and the swineherd sat down again on the polished chair. But when he had satisfied his heart with meat and drink, he went his way to the swine, and left the courts and the hall [605] full of banqueters. And they were making merry with dance and song, for evening had now come on.

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