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Then Odysseus of many wiles answered him and said: [130] “Then will I tell thee what seems to me to be the best way. First bathe yourselves, and put on your tunics, and bid the handmaids in the halls to take their raiment. But let the divine minstrel with his clear-toned lyre in hand be our leader in the gladsome dance, [135] that any man who hears the sound from without, whether a passer-by or one of those who dwell around, may say that it is a wedding feast; and so the rumor of the slaying of the wooers shall not be spread abroad throughout the city before we go forth to our well-wooded farm. There [140] shall we afterwards devise whatever advantage the Olympian may vouchsafe us.” So he spoke, and they all readily hearkened and obeyed. First they bathed and put on their tunics, and the women arrayed themselves, and the divine minstrel took the hollow lyre and aroused in them the desire [145] of sweet song and goodly dance. So the great hall resounded all about with the tread of dancing men and of fair-girdled women; and thus would one speak who heard the noise from without the house: “Aye, verily some one has wedded the queen wooed of many. [150] Cruel she was, nor had she the heart to keep the great house of her wedded husband to the end, even till he should come.” So they would say, but they knew not how these things were. Meanwhile the housewife Eurynome bathed the great-hearted Odysseus in his house, and anointed him with oil, [155] and cast about him a fair cloak and a tunic; and over his head Athena shed abundant beauty, making him taller to look upon and mightier, and from his head she made locks to flow in curls like the hyacinth flower. And as when a man overlays silver with gold, [160] a cunning workman whom Hephaestus and Pallas Athena have taught all manner of craft, and full of grace is the work he produces, even so the goddess shed grace on his head and shoulders, and forth from the bath he came, in form like unto the immortals. Then he sat down again on the chair from which he had risen, [165] opposite his wife; and he spoke to her and said: “Strange lady! to thee beyond all women have the dwellers on Olympus given a heart that cannot be softened. No other woman would harden her heart as thou dost, and stand aloof from her husband who after many grievous toils [170] had come to her in the twentieth year to his native land. Nay come, nurse, strew me a couch, that all alone I may lay me down, for verily the heart in her breast is of iron.” Then wise Penelope answered him: “Strange sir, I am neither in any wise proud, nor do I scorn thee, [175] nor yet am I too greatly amazed, but right well do I know what manner of man thou wast, when thou wentest forth from Ithaca on thy long-oared ship. Yet come, Eurycleia, strew for him the stout bedstead outside the well-built bridal chamber which he made himself. Thither do ye bring for him the stout bedstead, and cast upon it bedding, [180] fleeces and cloaks and bright coverlets.”

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