Then wise Telemachus answered him, and said:
“Antinous, in no wise may I thrust forth from the house against her will her that bore me and reared me; and, as for my father, he is in some other land, whether he be alive or dead. An evil thing it were for me to pay back a great price to Icarius, as I must, if of my own will I send my mother away. For from her father's hand shall I suffer evil, and heaven
will send other ills besides, for my mother as she leaves the house will invoke the dread Avengers; and I shall have blame, too, from men. Therefore will I never speak this word. And for you, if your own heart is wroth here at, get you forth from my halls and prepare you other feasts,
eating your own substance and changing from house to house. But if this seems in your eyes to be a better and more profitable thing, that one man's livelihood should be ruined without atonement, waste ye it. But I will call upon the gods that are forever, if haply Zeus may grant that deeds of requital may be wrought.
Without atonement then should ye perish within my halls.”
So spoke Telemachus, and in answer Zeus, whose voice is borne afar,1
sent forth two eagles, flying from on high, from a mountain peak. For a time they flew swift as the blasts of the wind side by side with wings outspread;
but when they reached the middle of the many-voiced assembly, then they wheeled about, flapping their wings rapidly, and down on the heads of all they looked, and death was in their glare. Then they tore with their talons one another's cheeks and necks on either side, and darted away to the right across the houses and the city of the men.
But they were seized with wonder at the birds when their eyes beheld them, and pondered in their hearts on what was to come to pass. Then among them spoke the old lord Halitherses, son of Mastor, for he surpassed all men of his day in knowledge of birds and in uttering words of fate.
He with good intent addressed their assembly, and spoke among them:
“Hearken now to me, men of Ithaca
, to the word that I shall say; and to the wooers especially do I declare and announce these things, since on them a great woe is rolling. For Odysseus shall not long be away from his friends, but even now, methinks,
he is near, and is sowing death and fate for these men, one and all. Aye, and to many others of us also who dwell in clear-seen Ithaca
will he be a bane. But long ere that let us take thought how we may make an end of this—or rather let them of themselves make an end, for this is straightway the better course for them.
Not as one untried do I prophesy, but with sure knowledge. For unto Odysseus I declare that all things are fulfilled even as I told him, when the Argives embarked for Ilios
and with them went Odysseus of many wiles. I declared that after suffering many ills and losing all his comrades he would come home in the twentieth year
unknown to all; and lo, all this is now being brought to pass.”