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So saying, he led the sore-tired stranger to the house. [85] Now when they had come to the stately house they laid their cloaks on the chairs and high seats, and went into the polished baths and bathed. And when the maids had bathed them and anointed them with oil, and had cast about them fleecy cloaks and tunics, [90] they came forth from the baths and sat down upon the chairs. Then a handmaid brought water for the hands in a fair pitcher of gold, and poured it over a silver basin for them to wash, and beside them drew up a polished table. And the grave housewife brought and set before them bread, [95] and therewith meats in abundance, granting freely of her store. And his mother sat over against Telemachus by the door-post of the hall, leaning against a chair and spinning fine threads of yarn. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, [100] the wise Penelope spoke first among them: “Telemachus, I truly will go to my upper chamber and lay me on my bed, which has become for me a bed of wailing, ever wet with my tears, since the day when Odysseus set forth with the sons of Atreus for Ilios. But thou tookest no care, [105] before the proud wooers come into this house, to tell me plainly of the return of thy father, if haply thou heardest aught.” And wise Telemachus answered her: “Then verily, mother, I will tell thee all the truth. We went to Pylos and to Nestor, the shepherd of the people, [110] and he received me in his lofty house and gave me kindly welcome, as a father might his own son who after a long time had newly come from a far: even so kindly he tended me with his glorious sons. Yet of Odysseus of the steadfast heart, [115] whether living or dead, he said he had heard naught from any man on earth. But he sent me on my way with horses and jointed car to Menelaus, son of Atreus, the famous spearman. There I saw Argive Helen, for whose sake Argives and Trojans toiled much by the will of the gods.

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