But when he knew with certainty the mind of these, he made answer, and spoke to them again, saying:
“At home now in truth am I here before you, my very self. After many grievous toils I am come in the twentieth year to my native land. And I know that by you two
alone of all my thralls is my coming desired, but of the rest have I heard not one praying that I might come back again to my home. But to you two will I tell the truth, even as it shall be. If a god shall subdue the lordly wooers unto me, I will bring you each a wife, and will give you possessions
and a house built near my own, and thereafter you two shall be in my eyes friends and brothers of Telemachus. Nay, come, more than this, I will shew you also a manifest sign, that you may know me well and be assured in heart, even the scar of the wound which long ago a boar dealt me with his white tusk,
when I went to Parnassus
with the sons of Autolycus.”
So saying, he drew aside the rags from the great scar. And when the two had seen it, and had marked each thing well, they flung their arms about wise Odysseus, and wept; and they kissed his head and shoulders in loving welcome.
And even in like manner Odysseus kissed their heads and hands. And now the light of the sun would have gone down upon their weeping, had not Odysseus himself checked them, and said:
“Cease now from weeping and wailing, lest some one come forth from the hall and see us, and make it known within as well.
But go within one after another, not all together, I first and you thereafter, and let this be made a sign. All the rest, as many as are lordly wooers, will not suffer the bow and the quiver to be given to me; but do thou, goodly Eumaeus, as thou bearest the bow through the halls,
place it in my hands, and bid the women bar the close-fitting doors of their hall. And if any one of them hears groanings or the din of men within our walls, let them not rush out, but remain where they are in silence at their work.
But to thee, goodly Philoetius, do I give charge to fasten with a bar the gate of the court, and swiftly to cast a cord upon it.”
So saying, he entered the stately house, and went and sat down on the seat from which he had risen. And the two slaves of divine Odysseus went in as well.
Eurymachus was now handling the bow, warming it on this side and on that in the light of the fire; but not even so was he able to string it; and in his noble heart he groaned, and with a burst of anger he spoke and addressed them:
“Out on it! Verily I am grieved for myself and for you all.
It is in no wise for the marriage that I mourn so greatly, grieved though I am; for there are many other Achaean women, some in sea-girt Ithaca
itself, and some in other cities; but I mourn if in truth we fall so far short of godlike Odysseus in might, seeing that we cannot string
his bow. This is a reproach for men that are yet to be to hear of.”