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Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him, and said: “Neatherd, since thou seemest to be neither an evil man nor a witless, and I see for myself that thou hast gotten an understanding heart, therefore will I speak out and swear a great oath to confirm my words. [230] Now be my witness Zeus above all gods, and this hospitable board, and the hearth of noble Odysseus to which I am come, that verily while thou art here Odysseus shall come home, and thou shalt see with thine eyes, if thou wilt, the slaying of the wooers, who lord it here.” [235] Then the herdsman of the cattle answered him: “Ah, stranger, I would that the son of Cronos might fulfil this word of thine! Then shouldest thou know what manner of might is mine, and how my hands obey.” And even in like manner did Eumaeus pray to all the gods that wise Odysseus might come back to his own home. [240] Thus they spoke to one another, but the wooers meanwhile were plotting death and fate for Telemachus; howbeit there came to them a bird on their left, an eagle of lofty flight, clutching a timid dove. Then Amphinomus spoke in their assembly, and said: [245] “Friends, this plan of ours will not run to our liking, even the slaying of Telemachus; nay, let us bethink us of the feast.” So spoke Amphinomus, and his word was pleasing to them. Then, going into the house of godlike Odysseus, they laid their cloaks on the chairs and high seats, [250] and men fell to slaying great sheep and fat goats, aye, and fatted swine, and the heifer of the herd. Then they roasted the entrails and served them out, and mixed wine in the bowls, and the swineherd handed out the cups. And Philoetius, a leader of men, handed them bread [255] in a beautiful basket, and Melanthius poured them wine. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. But Telemachus, with crafty thought, made Odysseus sit within the well-built hall by the threshold of stone, and placed for him a mean stool and a little table. [260] Beside him he set portions of the entrails and poured wine in a cup of gold, and said to him: “Sit down here among the lords and drink thy wine, and the revilings and blows of all the wooers will I myself ward from thee; for this is no public [265] resort, but the house of Odysseus, and it was for me that he won it. And for your part, ye wooers, refrain your minds from rebukes and blows, that no strife or quarrel may arise.”

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