Then the dear sons of Autolycus busied themselves with the carcase, and the wound of noble, god-like Odysseus they bound up skilfully, and checked the black blood with a charm, and straightway returned to the house of their dear father. And when Autolycus and the sons of Autolycus
had fully healed him, and had given him glorious gifts, they quickly sent him back with joy to his native land, to Ithaca
. Then his father and his honored mother rejoiced at his return, and asked him all the story, how he got his wound; and he told them all the truth,
how, while he was hunting, a boar had struck him with his white tusk when he had gone to Parnassus
with the sons of Autolycus.
This scar the old dame, when she had taken the limb in the flat of her hands, knew by the touch, and she let fall the foot. Into the basin the leg fell, and the brazen vessel rang.
Over it tilted, and the water was spilled upon the ground. Then upon her soul came joy and grief in one moment, and both her eyes were filled with tears and the flow of her voice was checked. But she touched the chin of Odysseus, and said:
“Verily thou art Odysseus, dear child, and I knew thee not,
till I had handled all the body of my lord.”
She spoke, and with her eyes looked toward Penelope, fain to show her that her dear husband was at home. But Penelope could not meet her glance nor understand, for Athena had turned her thoughts aside. But Odysseus,
feeling for the woman's throat, seized it with his right hand, and with the other drew her closer to him, and said:
“Mother, why wilt thou destroy me? Thou didst thyself nurse me at this thy breast, and now after many grievous toils I am come in the twentieth year to my native land.
But since thou hast found me out, and a god has put this in thy heart, be silent lest any other in the halls learn hereof. For thus will I speak out to thee, and verily it shall be brought to pass: if a god shall subdue the lordly wooers unto me, I will not spare thee, my nurse though thou art, when
I slay the other serving-women in my halls.”
Then wise Eurycleia answered him: “My child, what a word has escaped the barrier of thy teeth! Thou knowest how firm my spirit is and unyielding: I shall be as close as hard stone or iron.
And another thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart. If a god shall subdue the lordly wooers unto thee, then will I name over to thee the women in thy halls, which ones dishonor thee, and which are guiltless.”