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Then the spirit of the son of Atreus answered him: “Happy son of Laertes, Odysseus of many devices, of a truth full of all excellence was the wife thou didst win, so good of understanding was peerless Penelope, [195] daughter of Icarius, in that she was loyally mindful of Odysseus, her wedded husband. Therefore the fame of her virtue shall never perish, but the immortals shall make among men on earth a pleasant song in honor of constant Penelope. Not on this wise did the daughter of Tyndareus devise evil deeds [200] and slay her wedded husband, and hateful shall the song regarding her be among men, and evil repute doth she bring upon all womankind, even upon her that doeth uprightly.” Thus the two spoke to one another, as they stood in the house of Hades beneath the depths of the earth. [205] But Odysseus and his men, when they had gone down from the city, quickly came to the fair and well-ordered farm of Laertes, which he had won for himself in days past, and much had he toiled for it.1 There was his house, and all about it ran the sheds in which ate, and sat, and slept [210] the servants that were bondsmen, that did his pleasure; but within it was an old Sicilian woman, who tended the old man with kindly care there at the farm, far from the city. Then Odysseus spoke to the servants and to his son, saying: “Do you now go within the well-built house, [215] and straightway slay for dinner the best of the swine; but I will make trial of my father, and see whether he will recognize me and know me by sight, or whether he will fail to know me, since I have been gone so long a time.” So saying, he gave to the slaves his battle-gear. [220] They thereafter went quickly to the house; but Odysseus drew near to the fruitful vineyard in his quest. Now he did not find Dolius as he went down into the great orchard, nor any of his slaves or of his sons, but as it chanced [225] they had gone to gather stones for the vineyard wall, and the old man was their leader. But he found his father alone in the well-ordered vineyard, digging about a plant; and he was clothed in a foul tunic, patched and wretched, and about his shins he had bound stitched greaves of ox-hide to guard against scratches, [230] and he wore gloves upon his hands because of the thorns, and on his head a goatskin cap; and he nursed his sorrow.

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