But the goodly Odysseus lay down to sleep in the fore-hall of the house. On the ground he spread an undressed ox-hide and above it many fleeces of sheep, which the Achaeans were wont to slay, and Eurynome threw over him a cloak, when he had laid him down.
There Odysseus, pondering in his heart evil for the wooers, lay sleepless. And the women came forth from the hall, those that had before been wont to lie with the wooers, making laughter and merriment among themselves. But the heart was stirred in his breast,
and much he debated in mind and heart, whether he should rush after them and deal death to each, or suffer them to lie with the insolent wooers for the last and latest time; and his heart growled within him. And as a bitch stands over her tender whelps
growling, when she sees a man she does not know, and is eager to fight, so his heart growled within him in his wrath at their evil deeds; but he smote his breast, and rebuked his heart, saying:
“Endure, my heart; a worse thing even than this didst thou once endure on that day when the Cyclops
, unrestrained in daring, devoured my
mighty comrades; but thou didst endure until craft got thee forth from the cave where thou thoughtest to die.”
So he spoke, chiding the heart in his breast, and his heart remained bound1
within him to endure steadfastly; but he himself lay tossing this way and that.
And as when a man before a great blazing fire turns swiftly this way and that a paunch full of fat and blood, and is very eager to have it roasted quickly, so Odysseus tossed from side to side, pondering how he might put forth his hands upon the shameless wooers,
one man as he was against so many. Then Athena came down from heaven and drew near to him in the likeness of a woman, and she stood above his head, and spoke to him, and said:
“Why now again art thou wakeful, ill-fated above all men? Lo, this is thy house, and here within is thy wife
and thy child, such a man, methinks, as anyone might pray to have for his son.”
And Odysseus of many wiles answered her, and said: “Yea, goddess, all this hast thou spoken aright. But the heart in my breast is pondering somewhat upon this, how I may put forth my hands upon the shameless wooers,
all alone as I am, while they remain always in a body in the house. And furthermore this other and harder thing I ponder in my mind: even if I were to slay them by the will of Zeus and of thyself, where then should I find escape from bane? Of this I bid thee take thought.”