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And Odysseus of many wiles answered her, and said: “Strange lady! why dost thou now so urgently bid me [265] tell thee? Yet I will declare it, and will hide nothing. Verily thy heart shall have no joy of it, even as I myself have none; for Teiresias bade me go forth to full many cities of men, bearing a shapely oar in my hands, till I should come [270] to men that know naught of the sea, and eat not of food mingled with salt; aye, and they know naught of ships with purple cheeks, or of shapely oars that serve as wings to ships. And he told me this sign, right manifest; nor will I hide it from thee. When another wayfarer, on meeting me, [275] should say that I had a winnowing fan on my stout shoulder, then he bade me fix my oar in the earth, and make goodly offerings to lord Poseidon—a ram and a bull and a boar, that mates with sows—and depart for my home, and offer sacred hecatombs [280] to the immortal gods, who hold broad heaven, to each one in due order. And death shall come to me myself far from the sea, a death so gentle, that shall lay me low, when I am overcome with sleek old age, and my people shall dwell in prosperity around me. All this, he said, should I see fulfilled.” [285] Then wise Penelope answered him: “If verily the gods are to bring about for thee a happier old age, there is hope then that thou wilt find an escape from evil.” Thus they spoke to one another; and meanwhile Eurynome and the nurse made ready the bed [290] of soft coverlets by the light of blazing torches. But when they had busily spread the stout-built bedstead, the old nurse went back to her chamber to lie down, and Eurynome, the maiden of the bedchamber, led them on their way to the couch with a torch in her hands; [295] and when she had led them to the bridal chamber, she went back. And they then gladly came to the place of the couch that was theirs of old. But Telemachus and the neatherd and the swineherd stayed their feet from dancing, and stayed the women, and themselves lay down to sleep throughout the shadowy halls. [300] But when the two had had their fill of the joy of love, they took delight in tales, speaking each to the other. She, the fair lady, told of all that she had endured in the halls, looking upon the destructive throng of the wooers, who for her sake [305] slew many beasts, cattle and goodly sheep; and great store of wine was drawn from the jars. But Zeus-born Odysseus recounted all the woes that he had brought on men, and all the toil that in his sorrow he had himself endured, and she was glad to listen, nor did sweet sleep fall upon her eyelids, till he had told all the tale.

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