Then the old dame went up to the upper chamber, laughing aloud, to tell her mistress that her dear husband was in the house. Her knees moved nimbly, but her feet trotted along beneath her;1
and she stood above her lady's head, and spoke to her, and said:
“Awake, Penelope, dear child, that with thine own eyes thou mayest see what thou desirest all thy days. Odysseus is here, and has come home, late though his coming has been, and has slain the proud wooers who vexed his house, and devoured his substance, and oppressed his son.”
Then wise Penelope answered her: “Dear nurse, the gods have made thee mad, they who can make foolish even one who is full wise, and set the simple-minded in the paths of understanding; it is they that have marred thy wits, though heretofore thou wast sound of mind.
Why dost thou mock me, who have a heart full of sorrow, to tell me this wild tale, and dost rouse me out of slumber, the sweet slumber that bound me and enfolded my eyelids? For never yet have I slept so sound since the day when Odysseus went forth to see evil Ilios
that should not be named.
Nay come now, go down and back to the women's hall, for if any other of the women that are mine had come and told me this, and had roused me out of sleep, straightway would I have sent her back in sorry wise to return again to the hall, but to thee old age shall bring this profit.”
Then the dear nurse Eurycleia answered her: “I mock thee not, dear child, but in very truth Odysseus is here, and has come home, even as I tell thee. He is that stranger to whom all men did dishonor in the halls. But Telemachus long ago knew that he was here,
yet in his prudence he hid the purpose of his father, till he should take vengeance on the violence of overweening men.”
So she spoke, and Penelope was glad, and she leapt from her bed and flung her arms about the old woman and let the tears fall from her eyelids; and she spoke, and addressed her with winged words:
“Come now, dear nurse, I pray thee tell me truly, if verily he has come home, as thou sayest, how he put forth his hands upon the shameless wooers, all alone as he was, while they remained always in a body in the house.”
Then the dear nurse Eurycleia answered her:
“I saw not, I asked not; only I heard the groaning of men that were being slain. As for us women, we sat terror-stricken in the innermost part of our well-built chambers, and the close-fitting doors shut us in, until the hour when thy son Telemachus called me from the hall, for his father had sent him forth to call me.
Then I found Odysseus standing among the bodies of the slain, and they, stretched all around him on the hard floor, lay one upon the other; the sight would have warmed thy heart with cheer.2