So goodly Odysseus was left behind in the hall, planning with Athena's aid the slaying of the wooers, and he straightway spoke winged words to Telemachus:
“Telemachus, the weapons of war thou must needs lay away within
one and all, and when the wooers miss them and question thee, thou must beguile them with gentle words, saying: ‘Out of the smoke have I laid them, since they are no longer like those which of old Odysseus left behind him, when he went forth to Troy
, but are all befouled, so far as the breath of fire has reached them.
And furthermore this greater fear has a god put in my heart, lest haply, when heated with wine, you may set a quarrel afoot among you, and wound one another, and so bring shame on your feast and on your wooing. For of itself does the iron draw a man to it.’” So he spoke, and Telemachus hearkened to his dear father,
and calling forth the nurse Eurycleia, said to her:
“Nurse, come now, I bid thee, shut up the women in their rooms, while I lay away in the store-room the weapons of my father, the goodly weapons which all uncared-for the smoke bedims in the hall since my father went forth, and I was still a child.
But now I am minded to lay them away, where the breath of the fire will not come upon them.”
Then the dear nurse Eurycleia answered him: “Aye, child, I would thou mightest ever take thought to care for the house and guard all its wealth. But come, who then shall fetch a light and bear it for thee,
since thou wouldest not suffer the maids, who might have given light, to go before thee?”
Then wise Telemachus answered her; “This stranger here; for I will suffer no man to be idle who touches my portion of meal,1
even though he has come from afar.”
So he spoke, but her word remained unwinged, and she locked the doors of the stately hall.
Then the two sprang up, Odysseus and his glorious son, and set about bearing within the helmets and the bossy shields and the sharp-pointed spears; and before them Pallas Athena, bearing a golden lamp, made a most beauteous light.
Then Telemachus suddenly spoke to his father, and said:
“Father, verily this is a great marvel that my eyes behold; certainly the walls of the house and the fair beams2
and cross-beams of fir and the pillars that reach on high, glow in my eyes as with the light of blazing fire.
Surely some god is within, one of those who hold broad heaven.”
Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Hush, check thy thought, and ask no question; this, I tell thee, is the way of the gods that hold Olympus
. But do thou go and take thy rest and I will remain behind here,
that I may stir yet more the minds of the maids and of thy mother; and she with weeping shall ask me of each thing separately.”