Then wise Eurycleia answered him:
“In this matter, child, thou shouldest not blame her, who is without blame. He sat here and drank wine as long as he would, but for food he said he had no more hunger, for she asked him. But when he bethought him of rest and sleep, she bade the maidens strew his bed.
But he, as one wholly wretched and hapless, would not sleep on a bed and under blankets, but on an undressed ox-hide and fleeces of sheep he slept in the fore-hall, and we flung over him a cloak.”
So she spoke, and Telemachus went forth through the hall
with his spear in his hand, and with him went two swift hounds. And he went his way to the place of assembly to join the company of the well-greaved Achaeans, but Eurycleia, the goodly lady, daughter of Ops, son of Peisenor, called to her maidens, saying:
“Come, let some of you busily sweep the hall
and sprinkle it, and throw on the shapely chairs coverlets of purple, and let others wipe all the tables with sponges and cleanse the mixing-bowls and the well-wrought double cups, and others still go to the spring for water and bring it quickly here.
For the wooers will not long be absent from the hall, but will return right early; for it is a feast-day for all men.”
So she spoke, and they readily hearkened and obeyed. Twenty of them went to the spring of dark water, and the others busied themselves there in the house in skilful fashion.
Then in came the serving-men of the Acheans, who thereafter split logs of wood well and skilfully; and the women came back from the spring. After them came the swineherd, driving three boars which were the best in all his herd. These he let be to feed in the fair courts,
but himself spoke to Odysseus with gentle words:
“Stranger, do the Achaeans look on thee with any more regard, or do they dishonor thee in the halls as before?”
Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Ah, Eumaeus, I would that the gods might take vengeance on the outrage
wherewith these men in wantonness devise wicked folly in another's house, and have no place for shame.”
Thus they spoke to one another. And near to them came Melanthius the goatherd, leading she-goats that were the best in all the herds,
to make a feast for the wooers, and two herdsmen followed with him. The goats he tethered beneath the echoing portico, and himself spoke to Odysseus with taunting words:
“Stranger, wilt thou even now still be a plague to us here in the hall, asking alms of men, and wilt thou not begone?
'Tis plain, methinks, that we two shall not part company till we taste one another's fists, for thy begging is in no wise decent. Also it is not here alone that there are feasts of the Achaeans.”