Now the son of Terpes, the minstrel, was still seeking to escape black fate, even Phemius, who sang perforce among the wooers. He stood with the clear-toned lyre in his hands near the postern door, and he was divided in mind whether he should slip out from the hall
and sit down by the well-built altar of great Zeus, the God of the court, whereon Laertes and Odysseus had burned many things of oxen, or whether he should rush forward and clasp the knees of Odysseus in prayer. And as he pondered this seemed to him the better course, to clasp the knees of Odysseus, son of Laertes.
So he laid the hollow lyre on the ground between the mixing-bowl and the silver-studded chair, and himself rushed forward and clasped Odysseus by the knees, and made entreaty to him, and spoke winged words:
“By thy knees I beseech thee, Odysseus, and do thou respect me and have pity;
on thine own self shall sorrow come hereafter, if thou slayest the minstrel, even me, who sing to gods and men. Self-taught am I, and the god has planted in my heart all manner of lays, and worthy am I to sing to thee as to a god; wherefore be not eager to cut my throat.
Aye, and Telemachus too will bear witness to this, thy dear son, how that through no will or desire of mine I was wont to resort to thy house to sing to the wooers at their feasts, but they, being far more and stronger, led me hither perforce.”
So he spoke, and the strong and mighty Telemachus heard him,
and quickly spoke to his father, who was near:
“Stay thy hand, and do not wound this guiltless man with the sword. Aye, and let us save also the herald, Medon, who ever cared for me in our house, when I was a child—unless perchance Philoetius has already slain him, or the swineherd,
or he met thee as thou didst rage through the house.”
So he spoke, and Medon, wise of heart, heard him, for he lay crouching beneath a chair, and had clothed himself in the skin of an ox, newly flayed, seeking to avoid black fate. Straightway he rose from beneath the chair and stripped off the ox-hide,
and then rushed forward and clasped Telemachus by the knees, and made entreaty to him, and spoke winged words:
“Friend, here I am; stay thou thy hand and bid thy father stay his, lest in the greatness of his might he harm me with the sharp bronze in his wrath against the wooers, who wasted his
possessions in the halls, and in their folly honored thee not at all.”
But Odysseus of many wiles smiled, and said to him: “Be of good cheer, for he has delivered thee and saved thee, that thou mayest know in thy heart and tell also to another, how far better is the doing of good deeds than of evil.
But go forth from the halls and sit down outside in the court away from the slaughter, thou and the minstrel of many songs, till I shall have finished all that I must needs do in the house.”